Sanofi confirms deal to buy Bioverativ for $11.6bn

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John Cox, chief executive of Bioverativ, said his company has made great progress in developing treatments for people living with hemophilia and other rare blood disorders and that the acquisition will "rapidly expand access to our medicines globally".

It's the biggest deal for Sanofi in seven years, and it comes amid a rush of biotech deals unfolding in the beginning of 2018.

Shares of Sanofi were down nearly 3% in pre-market trading on Jan 22, presumably due to the high cost of acquisition while shares of Bioverative were up 62.6%.

Sanofi has agreed to buy all of the outstanding shares of Bioverativ for $105 per share in cash, marking a premium of 64 percent to Bioverativ's closing price on January 19.

The deal also strengthens Sanofi's pipeline by adding a phase III candidate for cold agglutinin disease and other early stage candidates in hemophilia and other rare blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

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The Nasdaq biotech index.NBI rose 3.15 percent to notch its best day since June 21 after a flurry of merger activity in the sector with French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) and USA -based Celgene (CELG.O) splurging a combined total of more than $20 billion.

Sanofi has also effectively expanded their specialty care and have put enormous headwind for their leadership race in terms of rare diseases.

Sanofi has failed to land major deals after losing California-based cancer specialist Medivation to Pfizer Inc in 2016 and Swiss biotech company Actelion to Johnson & Johnson previous year. The market now represents around 181,000 people, and attracts approximately $10bn in annual sales.

Sanofi said the addition of Bioverativ is expected to be immediately accretive to the company's earnings in 2018 and up to five per cent accretive for the following year.

Sanofi released information that said the sector has approximately $10 billion in sales annually, dealing with over 181,000 people worldwide.

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Sanofi added it would fund the takeover with a mixture of existing cash resources and a debt issue.

While there is a lot of excitement about the prospect of gene therapies to treat haemophilia, the company says it "believes factor replacement therapy will remain the standard of care in haemophilia for many years due to excellent safety and its increasingly superior long-acting profile". One such target could be Pfizer's consumer healthcare business, they said. The French group also expects to preserve its strong credit rating.

If the deal goes through, it could mark the long-awaited start to a burst of M&A deals, with Novo Nordisk making a play for Ablynx as Celgene reportedly hunts a deal to acquire Juno Therapeutics while Biogen and UCB reportedly joined the hunt for a badly damaged Acorda.

In Europe, Novo Nordisk has offered $3.1 billion for Ablynx and Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical plans to buy TiGenix for $630 million. Guggenheim Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are acting as financial advisors to Bioverativ.

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