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Ipsen to acquire Albireo for $952 million

Paris-based French biopharmaceutical company Ipsen announced on January 9, 2023, that it has entered into a merger agreement with Boston-based Albireo for 952 million dollars, a move that will bolster its range in treating paediatric and adult cholestatic liver diseases.

The merger will enable Ipsen to market odevixibat, a once-daily, oral, non-systemic ileal bile acid transport inhibitor, marketed as Bylvay, which was approved in 2021 in the United States for treating pruritus in patients three months of age and older with progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC), the companies said in a joint statement.

“We are excited about the potential of Albireo’s assets and scientific expertise, which we gain through this acquisition, and we believe this is a compelling growth opportunity for Ipsen.” Chief Executive Officer of Ipsen, David Loew, said.

Pointing out that Albireo’s odevixibat and the clinical and preclinical novel bile acid transport inhibitors complement Ipsen’s pipeline in liver disease, he added, “Our Rare Disease franchise is strengthened with Bylvay, which, in addition to being the first-approved treatment in PFIC, has two further indications being investigated in rare liver conditions that are underserved.”

“Unwavering dedication to patients and commitment to science has always been the north star for Albireo. This focus has driven us to develop and gain approval for Bylvay as the first drug treatment for PFIC,”, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Albireo, Ron Cooper, said.

“Our talented team at Albireo have advanced the first Phase III studies in three different paediatric liver diseases while discovering two promising new clinical stage bile acid modulators,” he added.

It may be noted that Albireo had earlier announced that it had filed supplementary regulatory filings for the drug in the European Union and the U.S. for Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a rare genetic disorder capable of affecting multiple organs, including the liver, with a paucity of bile ducts preventing bile flow from the liver to the small intestine apart from PFIC, in December 2022.

Under the terms of the agreement and plan of merger, Ipsen said that it will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Albireo for $42.00 per share in cash at the closing of the transaction, for an initial estimated aggregate consideration of $952 million plus one contingent value right (CVR) per share through a fully-owned subsidiary.

Ipsen announced that once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves Bylvay for Biliary Atresia, a congenital condition in which tubes (ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder become blocked, each CVR holder will be entitled to deferred cash payments of $10.00 per CVR.

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