Ipsen to acquire Albireo for rare disease portfolio

Abdomen scan

Ipsen to acquire Albireo for rare disease portfolio

Published: Jan 09, 2023

By George Budwell


French biopharma Ipsen has agreed to acquire Boston-based Albireo Pharma for $42 per share, plus a contingent value right of $10 per share, the two companies announced Monday.

The CVR is payable upon FDA approval of Albireo’s Bylvay as a treatment for biliary atresia, a rare liver disease. 

For Albireo shareholders to receive the CVR, Bylvay has to be approved in the biliary atresia setting by no later than December 31, 2027. The upfront portion of this transaction represents an 84% premium relative to Albireo’s share closing price last Friday. 

In response to this buyout news, Albireo’s shares jumped by as much as 92% in pre-market trading Monday. The initial cash portion of this deal is reportedly valued at $952 million.

The two companies expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of this year. Ipsen noted in the press release that this deal ought to be dilutive to its core operating earnings until the end of 2024. 

Ipsen Bolsters Rare Disease Portfolio

The centerpiece of this buyout is Bylvay. In 2021, Bylvay was approved in the U.S. as a treatment for pruritus (itching) in patients three months of age and older with progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC). 

The drug has also been approved in the EU for PFIC in patients aged six months or older. Wall Street analysts estimate that Bylvay could rake in up to $750 million in global sales in this initial setting.

Albireo, however, had designs on expanding the drug’s label to include other high-value rare pediatric cholestatic liver diseases such as Alagille syndrome and biliary atresia. All told, Bylvay may one day top $1 billion in annual sales if approved for one or more of these additional indications.   

At present, Albireo expects Bylvay to generate $24 million in total sales in 2022.

Through this transaction, Ipsen also gains the drugmaker’s experimental adult cholestatic liver disease candidate, A3907, which is currently in Phase I development.

Source: BioSpace