By Dominic Chopping and Fabiana Negrin Ochoa

 

Sanofi plans to buy assets from biopharmaceutical company Inhibrx in a deal worth up to $2.2 billion as it looks to diversify its product base and boost its pipeline of rare disease treatments.

The French pharmaceutical giant said Tuesday that it will acquire Inhibrx's INBRX-101 therapy, a potential treatment for a genetic disorder that raises a patient's risk of developing lung diseases and other illnesses.

The deal comes after Chief Executive Paul Hudson last year outlined plans to transition the company into a pure-play biopharmaceutical company by spinning off its consumer-healthcare business and ramping up spending on research and development.

The company currently derives most of its sales from blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Dupixent, which makes up roughly a quarter of group sales, as well as its flu vaccines that make up around 15% of sales. Although these will remain a focus for the company, it has committed to strengthening growth through existing or new clinical development.

"The addition of INBRX-101 as a high potential asset to our rare disease portfolio reinforces our strategy to commit to differentiated and potential best-in-class products," said Houman Ashrafian, Sanofi's head of research and development. "With our expertise in rare diseases and growing presence in immune-mediated respiratory conditions, INBRX-101 will complement our approach to deploy R&D efforts in key areas of focus."

Before the deal is closed, the rest of California-based Inhibrx's assets and liabilities not associated with INBRX-101 will be spun off into a new publicly traded company.

Sanofi will pay Inhibrx stockholders $30 in cash for each share, plus a deferred payment of $5 a share contingent on regulatory milestones. They will also receive one share of the new company for every four Inhibrx common shares held.

The acquisition is slated to be completed in the second quarter.

The deal comes after a flurry of recent acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry as companies seek to re-stock their pipelines at attractive valuations.

Already this year, Johnson & Johnson agreed to buy cancer-focused biotech Ambrx Biopharma for about $2 billion while Merck said it is buying another cancer-focused biotech, Harpoon Therapeutics, for $680 million.

 

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com and Fabiana Negrin Ochoa at fabiana.negrinochoa@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2024 05:50 ET (10:50 GMT)

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