French drug maker Sanofi has agreed to buy British immunotherapy company Kymab for $1.45 billion in a deal seen as the latest in a string of deals for the company’s belated expansion in the fast-growing field of immunotherapy.
Sanofi will pay $1.1 billion up front, and the deal will give Sanofi full rights to Kymab’s product, KY1005, an antibody treatment that is being shown to have the potential to treat a wide range of inflammatory and immune disorders.
The value of the deal, which will be paid in cash, may increase by $350 million, depending on how it reaches certain milestones, and according to trading at the opening of the stock market, Sanofi’s shares have fluctuated slightly.
In November, the company spent 308 million euros ($376 million) to buy Dutch biotechnology company Kiadis, which specializes in cellular immunotherapy drugs to treat cancer, and in August it acquired the American autoimmune disease company Principia Biopharma for $3.7 billion, after investing $2.5 billion to acquire Synthorx immuno-oncology group in January 2019.
Sanofi was late in benefiting from the launch and growth of the field of immunotherapy in the early last decade, and is now trying to keep pace with this wave and focus on the production line of several drugs, hoping to capture part of the cancer drug market, which has annual revenues of 100 billion dollars. Kymab’s product line includes KY1044, a cancer treatment that is currently in phases I and II clinical development.
The acquisition is expected to be closed by the end of June, and Weil and Gotshal & Manges LLP will represent Sanofi’s legal counsel, while J.P. Morgan is Kymab’s financial advisor and Goodwin PLC is its legal advisor.