This is the end of a suspense that will have lasted a fortnight. Announced as possible at the end of November 2022, the takeover of Horizon Therapeutics finally materialized on December 12th, with Amgen as the acquiring laboratory. J&J and Sanofi were also in negotiations for a time, before giving up the operation in turn.
In a press release dated December 11th, Sanofi simply announced that it was no longer in negotiation for this acquisition, the fault of a price deemed too high when J&J had thrown in the towel a week earlier. It must be said that the amount paid by Amgen is substantial.
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Amgen will pay approximately $28 billion for this transaction
It thus signs the most important acquisition of the year in the pharmaceutical industry. An operation that will not be entirely financed in cash, Amgen calling on Citybank and Bank of America to complete a cash contribution. “The acquisition of Horizon is a unique opportunity for Amgen – in line with our long-term growth strategy – to bring to market innovative treatments for patients suffering from serious illnesses “, said Robert A. .Bradway, CEO of Amgen.
A portfolio of products already on the market
At that price, Amgen is putting more than its hands on products in development, since Horizon already has a portfolio of products in the market. Sales are also growing rapidly since the laboratory garnered $3.2 billion in sales in 2021 and forecasts $3.6 billion in sales for the year 2022. “In fifteen years, we have built one of the biotechs with the fastest growing and most respected in the industry,” said Tim Walbert, CEO of Horizon Therapeutics.
The Irish biotech company is particularly focused on rare, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases. It has a varied portfolio including Typezza (teprotumumab-trbw), a monoclonal antibody, approved in 2020, indicated for the treatment of thyroid eye disease, Krystexxa (pegloticase) against chronic gout or Uplizna (inebilizumab) , recently approved against disorders of the spectrum of neuromyelitis optica, as many first-in-class treatments , according to the boss of Amgen.
In addition to strengthening its rare disease portfolio, Amgen sees potential synergies with its global commercialization strength, developed in the areas of inflammation and nephrology. ” In addition, the potential new treatments in Horizon’s pipeline are very complementary to our own R&D portfolio “, insists Robert A. Bradway, who plans to finalize this operation as early as 2024. Horizon thus has a pipeline of promising products. , which it had helped to strengthen by taking over Viela Bio in 2021, against $3 billion.
Amgen is looking for a second wind
To succeed in making this record operation profitable, Amgen will have to maximize this pipeline and manage to bring to its full potential the Horizon products already on the market, by also capitalizing on its expertise in biological products.
After a relatively lackluster 2021, Amgen was looking for a second wind. The laboratory was only able to survive last year thanks to its collaboration with Lilly and its antibodies against Covid-19. Amgen is suffering in particular from seeing its best-seller, Enbrel (etanercept), affected by price cuts and down 11% between 2020 and 2021.
For 2022, the trajectory is not much more flattering and Amgen forecasts total sales now between $26 and $26.3 billion, compared to $25.98 billion in 2021. These are all reasons that prompted Amgen to act and to carry out this large-scale acquisition, exceeding its annual turnover.
An operation for which it will probably take several years to know if it will have proved expensive or judicious. After the announcement, Amgen’s share price reacted rather sluggishly, even dropping slightly. Proof that the laboratory will still have to prove that it has the capacity to digest this acquisition and make it a profitable operation, capable of rectifying its declining trajectory.
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First published in L’USINENOUVELLE, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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