Novo Nordisk to acquire US drug delivery company Emisphere Technologies

Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire US drug delivery company Emisphere Technologies in a deal worth $1.8 billion.

The proprietary drug delivery technologies of Emisphere Technologies include the Eligen SNAC technology and others which enable oral formulations of therapeutics.

Since 2007, Novo Nordisk and the US company have collaborated.

Eligen SNAC is being used by the Danish pharma company under an existing licence agreement in the oral formulation of semaglutide, its GLP-1 receptor agonist, which is marketed and sold under the Rybelsus brand name.

The outstanding shares of Emisphere Technologies are being acquired for $1.35 billion by the Danish firm. In addition to that, Novo Nordisk will acquire the related Eligen SNAC royalty stream obligations owed to MHR Fund Management, the largest shareholder of the US drug delivery company for $450 million.

Mark H. Rachesky – Founder of MHR Fund Management and a member of the board of Emisphere Technologies said: “MHR was an early believer in Emisphere and its proprietary Eligen drug delivery technology. Our longstanding support of the company was validated when its partnership with Novo Nordisk resulted in the development of an oral formulation for GLP-1, which we believe will be a transformative drug for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.”

Novo Nordisk to acquire US drug delivery company Emisphere Technologies

Novo Nordisk to acquire US drug delivery company Emisphere Technologies. Photo courtesy of Novo Nordisk A/S.

With the acquisitions, Novo Nordisk becomes free from its future royalty obligations to Emisphere Technologies and MHR Fund Management, while getting complete access to the Eligen SNAC drug delivery technology platform. This will enable the Danish healthcare company to grow the portfolio of oral biologic pipeline assets across therapy areas.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen – executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Novo Nordisk said: “We intend to apply and further develop the technology and use it on current and future pipeline assets with the aim of making more biologic medicines orally available for patients”.

The deal is subject to approval by Emisphere Technologies’ shareholders and the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, among others.

In June 2020, Novo Nordisk signed a deal worth up to $2.1 billion to acquire Corvidia Therapeutics from life sciences venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners for growing its footprint in cardiovascular disease. (Read more about Novo Nordisk acquisition of Corvidia)

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