Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Sanofi to buy Belgian biopharmaceutical firm Ablynx for EUR3.9bn

PBR Staff Writer Published 30 January 2018

French drugmaker Sanofi has agreed to acquire Ablynx, a Belgian biopharma company focused in the discovery and development of Nanobodies, for about €3.9bn.

Sanofi has offered €45 for each of the shares of Ablynx in an all-cash deal.

The acquisition will help Sanofi advance the transformation of its research and development and expand late-stage pipeline and strengthen its platform in rare blood disorders.

The deal adds Ablynx’s caplacizumab (anti-vWF Nanobody), an investigational drug for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), to Sanofi’s platform.

Caplacizumab is in late stage development and has been filed in the European Union.It is slated to be filed in the US during the first half of 2018.

Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt said: “This acquisition builds on a successful existing partnership. We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Belgium, where we have invested significantly over the years in our state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing facility in Geel. We intend to maintain and support the Ablynx science center in Ghent.”

Ablynx also has an inhaled anti-RSV Nanobody in its portfolio, called  ALX-0171, which is being developed for the symptomatic treatment of RSV infections.

Currently in phase 2b development, the drug is highly complementary to the RSV associated programs of Sanofi Pasteur.

Ablynx CEO Edwin Moses said: “Since our founding in 2001, our team has been focused on unlocking the power of our Nanobody technology for patients. The results of our work are validated by clinical data.

“As we look ahead, we believe Sanofi’s global infrastructure, commitment to innovation and commercial capabilities will accelerate our ability to deliver our pipeline. Our Board of Directors feels strongly that this transaction represents compelling value for shareholders and maximizes the potential of our pipeline to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Overall, Ablynx’s Nanobody pipeline features over 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a range of therapeutic areas that include hematology, inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases.

Out of these, eight Nanobodies have advanced to the clinical development stage. 

The transaction is anticipated to be completed by the end of the second quarter this year, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions.

Earlier this month, Sanofi had agreed to acquire US-based hemophilia specialist Bioverativ for about $11.6bn.


Image: Ablynx to be acquired by Sanofi in a deal worth about €3.9bn. Photo: courtesy of Ablynx.