Sector News

Novo Nordisk ponies up $1.1B for Forma in effort to shape up sickle cell disease market

September 3, 2022
Life sciences

Novo Nordisk is handing over $1.1 billion in cash to buy Forma Therapeutics in hopes that the clinical-stage biotech’s assets will help build a leading portfolio in sickle cell disease (SCD).

The Denmark pharma giant will acquire all outstanding shares of the Massachusetts biotech’s stock for $20 apiece—a total equity value of $1.1 billion, according to a Sept. 1 release.

Forma—a 2011 Fierce 15 winner—and debuted on the market in 2020 with an upsized $278 million IPO, the fifth largest biotech IPO of the year. Genentech veteran Frank Lee helps the company. The biotech is centered around etavopivat, a once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R activator that is being developed to treat rare genetic blood disorders such as SCD.

Etavopivat is an oral med that has snagged FDA fast track, rare pediatric disease and orphan drug tags.

“We have an ambition to build a leading portfolio with standalone and combination treatments to tackle the complications and underlying causes of sickle cell disease,” said Ludovic Helfgott, executive vice president and head of rare disease at Novo Nordisk. The debilitating, life-threatening disease affects around 17 million people worldwide.

Etavopivat is being evaluated in a global phase 2/3 SCD trial, as well as in a phase 2 trial in patients with transfusion-dependent SCD and a genetic blood disorder known as thalassemia. Earlier phase 1 data showed etavopivat improved anemia and red blood cell health and appeared to be safe and well-tolerated among patients with SCD.

After Novo Nordisk’s tender offer is completed, the company’s acquisition subsidiary will merge into Forma Therapeutics. Novo is dipping into its financial reserves to pay for the acquisition, so the transaction isn’t expected to impact its previously shared operating profit outlook for 2022.

The transaction is set to close during the fourth quarter of this year.

By Gabrielle Masson


comments closed

Related News

September 25, 2022

Rise of the machines: Novo Nordisk pledges $200M to create first quantum computer for life sciences

Life sciences

Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.

September 25, 2022

Mount Sinai AI uncovers new brain analysis method to predict dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

Life sciences

Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.

September 25, 2022

New AstraZeneca-backed report finds big money behind diverse owners and entrepreneurs in Europe

Life sciences

There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.