Sector News

Bristol-Myers to invest in Dutch gene therapy company uniQure

April 7, 2015
Life sciences
(Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it would invest in Dutch biotech uniQure NV, joining other big drugmakers who have moved to gain a foothold in the promising gene therapy market.
 
UniQure’s shares jumped more than 55 percent on Monday after Bristol-Myers said it would pick up a 4.9 percent stake in the company.
 
UniQure’s gene therapy drug, Glybera, went on sale last year priced at 1.1 million euros.
 
Glybera fights the ultra-rare genetic disease lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which clogs the blood with fat.
 
Investor interest in the field of gene therapy has grown in the past 18 months, with Bluebird Bio Inc, uniQure NV and Spark Therapeutics Inc all staging successful floats on the Nasdaq.
 
Bayer AG struck a gene therapy deal with Dimension Therapeutics in June, while France’s Sanofi SA has a long-standing tie-up with Oxford BioMedica.
 
Bristol-Myers will invest about $100 million in uniQure, including $33.84 per share, or at least $32 million in total, for a 4.9 percent stake, the companies said.
 
The purchase price per share is at a 48 percent premium to uniQure’s Thursday close and values the company at about $595.4 million, based on its outstanding shares as of Feb. 9, according to Thomson Reuters calculations.
 
Bristol-Myers will acquire an additional 5 percent stake in the Amsterdam-based company before Dec. 31 at a 10 percent premium. [ID:nBw8xgwS2a]
 
The companies will collaborate on 10 targets, including uniQure’s proprietary gene therapy program for congestive heart failure, S100A1.
 
UniQure will be responsible for the manufacture of clinical and commercial supplies, while Bristol-Myers will lead development and regulatory activities and bear all research and development costs.
 
Bristol-Myers will also be responsible for the commercialization of all products from the collaboration.
 
UniQure will be eligible for a number of milestone payments, including up to $254 million for its lead S100A1 therapeutic and up to $217 million for each other gene therapy product potentially developed under the deal.
 
UniQure’s shares were up 45.8 percent at $33.34 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
 
(This story has been refiled to correct the spelling to ‘Glybera’ from ‘Glyberan’ in paragraphs 3 and 4)
 
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Simon Jennings)

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