Novo Nordisk To Acquire Dicerna Pharmaceuticals for $3.3 Billion

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) has agreed to acquire US-based biotech Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc (Nasdaq: DRNA) in a $3.3 billion cash deal.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Thursday, Novo Nordisk will pay $38.25 for each Dicerna share, an 80% premium to Dicerna’s closing price on Nov. 17. 

Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, Dicerna’s drug development has focused on the use of RNA interference (RNAi), a technology that blocks cellular messengers containing instructions for making proteins.

The two firms have already been working together since 2019, when they launched a research collaboration to leverage Discerna’s technology for liver-related diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes and obesity. 

The first candidate from the collaboration is set to enter clinical trials next year. 

Novo Nordisk, which commands 47% of the global insulin market, has been expanding its scope to other metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases and expects the takeover will further its ability to develop targeted medicines

Through the acquisition, Novo Nordisk will also assume previous partnerships Discerna made with other companies, including Roche, Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim. 

In a statement, Marcus Schindler, Novo Nordisk’s chief scientific officer, said, "By combining Dicerna’s state-of-the-art RNAi drug engine and intracellular delivery with our deep capabilities in disease biology understanding and tissue targeting through peptides and proteins, we have the potential to expand our pipeline and deliver life-changing precision medicines for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and NASH as well as rare diseases like endocrine disorders and bleeding disorders.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

According to Bloomberg News, the acquisition will rank as the biggest in Novo’s 98-year history, surpassing its $1.8 billion purchase last year of Emisphere Technologies Inc.

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Source: Equities News

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