02.01.21

Horizon Therapeutics to Acquire Viela Bio to Grow Rare Disease Medicine Portfolio

Source: Horizon Therapeutics

Horizon Therapeutics and Viela Bio announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Horizon will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Viela Bio common stock for $53 per share in cash, which represents a fully diluted equity value of approximately $3.05 billion, or approximately $2.67 billion net of Viela’s cash and cash equivalents. As previously announced, Horizon had $2.08 billion in cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2020.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

“This acquisition represents a significant step forward in advancing our strategy–to expand our pipeline in order to accelerate our growth over the long term,” Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon, said in a company news release. “Adding Viela’s research and clinical development capabilities along with its deep, mid-stage biologics pipeline to our seasoned R&D and commercial teams, advances our transformation to an innovation-driven biotech company where we will build on the success of Tepezza and Krystexxa to bolster our long-term growth trajectory. We intend to maximize the full potential of Viela’s pipeline, including the pursuit of additional future indications.”

Strategic Rationale

  • Adds to commercial rare disease medicine portfolio with Uplinza(inebilizumab-cdon)
    • Uplinza is the first and only FDA-approved B-cell-depleting humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), a rare, severe, autoimmune disease that attacks the optic nerve, spinal cord and brain stem, which leads to loss of vision and paralysis, in adults who are anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody positive.
  • Strengthens current R&D capability by adding a team with early-stage research, translational and clinical development capabilities along with deep scientific knowledge in autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases.
  • Adds deep, mid-stage biologics pipeline focused primarily on autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases.
    • The current Viela pipeline includes four therapeutic candidates currently in nine development programs.
    •  Uplinza
      • Phase 3 trials in myasthenia gravis, a chronic, rare autoimmune neuromuscular disease and in IgG4-related disease, a group of disorders marked by tumor-like swelling and fibrosis of affected organs.
      • Phase 2 trial for kidney transplant desensitization (paused due to COVID-19).
      • VIB4920
        • Investigational fusion protein designed to block a key co-stimulatory pathway involved in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
        • Phase 2b trial in Sjögren’s syndrome and Phase 2 trials for kidney transplant rejection and rheumatoid arthritis.
      • VIB7734
        • Investigational human monoclonal antibody designed to deplete plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), a cell type believed to be critical to the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases.
        • Phase 2 trial for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) expected to begin in the first half of 2021.
        • Phase 1 study for the treatment of COVID-19-related acute lung injury.
      • VIB1116
        • Monoclonal antibody for autoimmune diseases expected to begin Phase 1 first-in-human trial in mid-2021.

“We are pleased that Horizon recognizes the value of our robust R&D pipeline, our commercial medicine Uplinza, which is an important treatment option for patients with NMOSD, and our talented team,” said Bing Yao, PhD, chairman and chief executive officer, Viela Bio. “We believe that the combined pipeline, including the pursuit of additional potential indications, has the potential to yield innovative new medicines to treat autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases. Our collective R&D expertise coupled with Horizon’s commercial capabilities, has the potential to provide benefit to more patients with high unmet treatment needs.”

 

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