Alexion boosts rare disease focus with deal to buy Synageva BioPharma for $8.4 billion

Alexion Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday a definitive agreement to acquire Synageva BioPharma under a deal valued at $230 per share, or approximately $8.4 billion, boosting its focus on rare diseases. The transaction, which represents a premium of 140 percent over Synageva's closing share price on May 5, includes $115 in cash and 0.6581 Alexion shares for each share of Synageva.

"Synageva is an ideal strategic and operational fit for Alexion that aligns with what we know well and do well -- providing life-transforming therapies to an increasing number of patients with devastating and rare diseases," commented Alexion CEO David Hallal. The transaction has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards and is expected to close in mid-2015.

Alexion indicated that the deal will "accelerate and diversify" its revenues, while leading to annual cost synergies starting this year and growing to at least $150 million in 2017. In addition, the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in 2018.

The deal will provide Alexion, which markets the atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome therapy Soliris (eculizumab), with Synageva's experimental drug Kanuma (sebelipase alfa). The compound is under development for the treatment of LAL deficiency, with submissions to the FDA and European Medicines Agency under review. The regulatory bodies are expected to make decisions in the second half of the year.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Alexion calls for trust in its rare disease playbook.

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