Novo Nordisk to Add RNA Tech With $3.3 Billion Dicerna Deal
(Bloomberg) -- Novo Nordisk A/S agreed to buy U.S.-based biotech Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a $3.3 billion bid to gain RNA technology that promises to yield new medicines.
Denmark’s Novo will pay $38.25 per share in cash, a premium of 80% to Dicerna’s closing price on Nov. 17, the company said Thursday in a statement. Both boards backed the transaction.
The two companies have already worked together to find drug targets in liver cells, yielding an experimental medicine slated to enter clinical tests next year. Novo said the takeover will further its understanding of disease biology along with its ability to develop targeted medicines.
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dicerna’s drug development has focused on the use of RNA interference, a technology that blocks cellular messenger containing instructions for making proteins. Another Cambridge-based company, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., has already shown the value of the technology with approved drugs for rare diseases.
“The acquisition of Dicerna accelerates Novo Nordisk’s research within RNAi,” said Marcus Schindler, Novo’s chief scientific officer. The deal could help create new medicines for people living with chronic ailments such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease as well as bleeding disorders, he said.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Novo shares were little changed, rising less than 1% in Copenhagen. Dicerna shares gained 78% in trading before U.S. markets opened.
The takeover ranks as the biggest in Novo’s history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, exceeding last year’s $1.8 billion purchase of Emisphere Technologies Inc.
Novo last month raised its profit and sales forecasts for the year, reflecting demand for its diabetes treatments and new obesity medication in the U.S. However, the company has faced pricing headwinds in the world’s biggest drug market as U.S. lawmakers and consumers have criticized the affordability of therapies of diabetes therapies.
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