Horizon Therapeutics becomes target of acquisition by pharma giants

Horizon Therapeutics

Horizon Therapeutics becomes target of acquisition by pharma giants

Published: Nov 30, 2022

By Alex Keown


Shares of Horizon Therapeutics are soaring in premarket trading Wednesday after the rare disease company confirmed it is being courted for a potential acquisition by three different pharma giants.

Horizon issued a statement Tuesday night confirming the Ireland-based company is engaged in “highly preliminary discussions” with Amgen, Janssen and Sanofi First, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Horizon officials said these discussions could lead to an acquisition. This sent investors into a frenzy to snap up shares of the company. The stock jumped more than 33% in premarket trading to $103.90 per share. Horizon closed at $78.76 at the end of Tuesday’s trading.

According to the WSJ, it is unknown how much a company would pay for Horizon, which has a market value of more than $18 billion.

Any acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics would be among the biggest deals of 2022.

For any would-be suitor, Horizon Therapeutics has a number of attractive drug products in its arsenal, including Tepezza, which was approved in January 2020 for the treatment of Thyroid Eye Diseases, as well as Uplizna, approved in June 2021 for adults with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder who are anti-AQP4 antibody positive.

Horizon gained Uplizna in its 2021 acquisition of rare disease company Viela Bio.

The Viela deal further cemented Horizon’s position as a top rare disease company. In addition to Uplizna, the deal brought another investigational asset, including VIB4920, an investigational fusion protein designed to block a critical co-stimulatory pathway involved in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including Sjögren’s syndrome.

The experimental Phase II lupus monoclonal antibody VIB7734 was also part of the acquisition.

Earlier this year, Horizon showcased its new innovation facility in Maryland that provided the company with four times the lab space for its team, many of whom came over in the Viela acquisition.

Not only did the acquisition of Viela bring an FDA-approved drug under Horizon’s umbrella, but it also brought numerous research scientists with significant expertise in various rare diseases to the company’s roster.

Because Horizon’s headquarters is based in Dublin, Irish corporate law governs potential offers for the company.

In its announcement, Horizon cited Rule 2.6 of the Irish Takeover Rules that states offers for the company are required to be publicly announced no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Jan. 10, 2023. The deadline can be extended by the consent of the Irish Takeover Panel at the request of Horizon, the company disclosed.

Source: BioSpace