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According to Alexion, the acquisition will help rebuild its clinical pipeline.
On April 11, 2018, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in New Haven, CT, focused on rare diseases, announced that it has agreed to acquire Wilson Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Stockholm, Sweden, that develops novel therapies for patients with rare copper-mediated disorders.
Alexion, through a wholly owned subsidiary, has made a tender offer of SEK 232 in cash for each outstanding share of Wilson Therapeutics. The total equity value of the transaction amounts to SEK 7,100 million, based on outstanding shares on a fully diluted basis, or approximately $855 million.
The Independent Committee of the Board of Directors of Wilson Therapeutics has unanimously recommended Wilson Therapeutics shareholders accept the offer, and Alexion’s Board of Directors also unanimously approved the offer. Alexion has obtained shareholder support agreements from the four largest shareholders accounting for 57.4% of Wilson Therapeutics’ outstanding shares and two additional shareholders accounting for 8.7% for a total of 66.1% of Wilson Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, to the effect that these shareholders have undertaken to accept the offer on certain terms. Additionally, Polar Capital, holding 7.3% of Wilson Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, has expressed its support for, and intends to accept, the offer for a total support of 73.4%.
According to Alexion, the acquisition of Wilson Therapeutics requires approval of relevant regulatory authorities, and Alexion expects to obtain such approvals prior to the end of the acceptance period. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.
Wilson Therapeutics’ lead product, WTX101, is in Phase III development as a treatment for Wilson disease, a rare genetic disorder with devastating hepatic and neurological consequences for patients. WTX101 is a first-in-class oral copper-binding agent with a unique mechanism of action and ability to access and bind copper from serum and promote its removal from the liver, as stated by Alexion. WTX101 has received fast track designation in the United States and orphan drug designation for the treatment of Wilson disease in the US and European Union.
“Wilson disease is a rare disorder that can lead to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis and acute liver failure, as well as debilitating neurological morbidities such as impaired movement, gait, speech, swallowing, and psychiatric disorders. WTX101 is an innovative product that addresses the underlying cause of the disease and has the potential to define a new standard of care in treating Wilson disease, an area that has not had a new treatment in over two decades,” said Ludwig Hantson, CEO at Alexion, in a company press release. “The acquisition of Wilson Therapeutics is a strong strategic fit for Alexion given the overlap with our current clinical and commercial focus on metabolic and neurologic disorders and is an important first step in rebuilding our clinical pipeline.”
“Alexion is a global leader in rare diseases with a proven record of developing and commercializing therapies for patients with rare diseases, making them a great partner to make WTX101 available to Wilson disease patients worldwide,” said Jonas Hansson, CEO of Wilson Therapeutics, in the release.