Sanofi’s acquisition of Ablynx in a deal valued at $4.8 billion complements the earlier acquisition of Biogen spin-off Bioverativ for $11.6 billion. Both strengthen Sanofi’s position in rare blood disorders.
Launched in 2017 following separation from Biogen, Bioverativ is focused on therapies for hemophilia and other rare blood disorders. With approximately $10 billion in annual sales and 181,000 people affected worldwide, hemophilia represents the largest market for rare diseases and is expected to grow above 7% per year through 2022.
Bioverativ’s extended half-life therapies for hemophilia A and B represented the first major advancements in the hemophilia market in nearly two decades when launched. Bioverativ currently markets the two products in the U.S., Japan, Canada and Australia, and plans to expand into additional geographies. The therapies are also commercialized in the European Union and other countries under a collaboration agreement.
Beyond its two marketed products, Bioverativ’s pipeline includes a program in Phase 3 testing for cold agglutinin disease, and early stage research programs and collaborations in hemophilia, and other rare blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. Sanofi’s R&D organization will support Bioverativ in bringing these important therapies to patients faster.
Ablynx is engaged in the development of Nanobodies, proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, which combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with some of the features of small-molecule drugs. Ablynx has more than 45 proprietary and partnered programs in development in various therapeutic areas including inflammation, hematology, immuno-oncology, oncology and respiratory disease.
Ablynx’s most-advanced product in development is caplacizumab for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP). The product is already filed in the European Union and expected to be filed in the U.S. during the first half of this year. Caplacizumab, if approved, would be the first-in-class treatment for this acute, life-threatening disease.
Sanofi also recently announced a restructuring of its rare disease alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, with Sanofi obtaining global development and commercialization rights to fitusiran, an investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic for hemophilia A and B, with or without inhibitors. Sanofi plans to leverage Bioverativ’s clinical expertise and existing commercial platform to advance fitusiran. (Source: Sanofi Website, 22 and 29 January, 2018)