Monday, 24 September, 2018


Novo makes second move on Ablynx

Novo makes second move on Ablynx Novo makes second move on Ablynx
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2018, 21:22

Novo Nordisk has since 2015 been undertaking a research collaboration with Ablynx on the Nanobody platform.

The Belgian pharma company revealed that it was the second time that Novo Nordisk had approached it for a takeover proposal in the month of December 2017.

Last week, Japan's Takeda (4502.T) bid 520 million euros for Belgian cell therapy group Tigenix.

"The proposed transaction with Ablynx represents a compelling opportunity for both companies and is in the best interests of all of Ablynx's stakeholders", said Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk. It did not say why.

Ablynx specialises in the development of nanobodies: small fragments of antibodies that like larger antibodies can bind onto the antigens that cause an immune system response.

Caplacizumab, an anti-von Willebrand factor (vWF) Nanobody, is Ablynx's lead candidate meant to block the interaction of ultra-large vWF multimers (ULvWF) with platelets having an immediate effect on platelet aggregation and the micro-clots that cause severe thrombocytopenia, tissue ischemia and organ dysfunction in acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP).

The $11 billion haemophilia market is facing upheaval and Novo stands to lose sales following approval of a new Roche drug Hemlibra. It has instead focused on its market-leading position making insulin and other diabetes treatments.

The latest offer from the Danish pharma company is €30.50 per share in cash, which includes a €2.50 per share in contingent value rights (CVR), while the first offer made in early December was €26.75 per share. The firm accounts for almost half of the global market for insulin, but is also present in other sectors such as horomone treatments and drugs to control haemophilia.

In March, the company approached Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT.O), a US biotechnology company focused on serious blood disorders, to discuss a potential takeover.

Finance chief Brandgaard said the current bid could be revised if Ablynx agreed to engage in talks.

Novo Nordisk, who has made previously unsuccessful bids for the Belgian business, announced its €2.6 billion offer on its website, Monday.

However, Novo Nordisk disclosed that Ablynx's board of directors had declined from carrying out any discussions with it, in spite of its two proposals. They closed at 21.20 euros on Friday.

"We envisage Novo needing to hike the offer and could see counterbids", the analysts said.

Ablynx's share price soared 44% on the back of the rejection.

Its products, which are all still undergoing medical trials, target many different diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or cancer. We firmly believe that the combination of Ablynx's pipeline, R&D team and antibody engineering platform with Novo Nordisk's own R&D organization would create a stronger combined research base.

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