According to people close to the matter, Novartis is considering making an offer to acquire The Medicines Company and is currently conducting due diligence on the drugmaker, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The sources suggested that The Medicines Company, which has a market value of about $4.7 billion, has also received expressions of interest from other potential buyers, although there is no certainty an agreement will be reached.
Commenting on the rumour, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sam Fazeli noted that "Novartis currently has a rapidly growing heart failure drug, so the addition of another cardiovascular medicine would fit." The Swiss drugmaker currently markets Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan), which is used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and heart failure hospitalisation in patients with certain types of chronic heart failure, generating sales of $430 million in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, The Medicines Company is developing inclisiran as a twice-yearly siRNA agent directed against PCSK9. In September, the drugmaker reported that the therapy had achieved the primary and secondary endpoints of the Phase III ORION-9 and ORION-10 trials in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Detailed results from the trials recently presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions showed that inclisiran significantly lowered LDL cholesterol levels by rates of 50% and 58%, respectively, versus placebo.
The Medicines Company indicated that it plans to submit the drug to regulators in the US during the fourth quarter and in Europe in the first quarter of 2020. Two years ago, it disclosed that it would reduce its headcount to less than 60 employees as it restructured operations to focus on developing inclisiran.
Representatives for both Novartis and The Medicines Company declined to comment on the takeover rumour, although the news sent the latter's shares up as much as 29% on Tuesday.
For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Clinical coast is clear for inclisiran.
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