Sanofi to acquire US biopharma company Principia Biopharma for $3.7bn

Sanofi acquisition of Principia Biopharma : French pharma giant Sanofi has signed an all-cash deal worth $3.68 billion to acquire Principia Biopharma, a late-stage California-based biopharma company, engaged in developing treatments for immune-mediated diseases.

As per the terms of the deal, Sanofi will acquire all of the outstanding shares of the US biopharma company for $100  per share.

By leveraging its Tailored Covalency platform, Principia Biopharma has so far discovered three drug candidates – Rilzabrutinib, PRN2246/SAR442168, and PRN473 Topical. The Tailored Covalency platform is claimed to enable the design of reversible covalent as well as irreversible covalent small molecule inhibitors that are more selective with less off-target effects.

Rilzabrutinib is said to be a reversible covalent Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, which is being assessed in a phase 3 clinical trial in pemphigus, in a phase 1/2 clinical trial in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Besides, Principia Biopharma is looking to launch a phase 2 clinical trial in IgG4-related diseases and a phase 3 trial in immune thrombocytopenia.

PRN2246/SAR442168, on the other hand, is a covalent BTK inhibitor, which is said to cross the blood-brain barrier. In 2017, Principia Biopharma granted exclusive, worldwide license to the covalent BTK inhibitor to Sanofi for its development and commercialization in multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system disorders.

Sanofi will study SAR442168 in four phase 3 clinical trials in relapsing and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis.

The third drug candidate of Principia Biopharma, which is PRN473 Topical is a BTK inhibitor designed to be applied topically on the skin of people with immune-mediated disease. PRN473 Topical is currently in phase 1 clinical trials.

Sanofi acquisition of Principia Biopharma

Sanofi acquisition of Principia Biopharma. Photo courtesy of Sanofi de/Wikimedia Commons.

Commenting on Sanofi acquisition of Principia Biopharma, Martin Babler – President and CEO at Principia Biopharma, said: “Principia’s successful design and development of a whole portfolio of BTK inhibitors for immunology is aimed to transform the treatment for patients with immune-mediated diseases.

“By combining with Sanofi, we will bring significant resources to expand and accelerate the potential benefits of these therapies. The benefit of developing several BTK inhibitors will allow us to target specific organ systems for optimal patient benefit. The merger will provide global resources to get these novel therapies to patients faster.”

According to Sanofi, the BTK inhibitors of the US biopharma company add to its efforts to fast track and build a portfolio of the next generation of transformative therapies for autoimmune disorders.

Paul Hudson – Sanofi CEO, commenting on Sanofi acquisition of Principia Biopharma, said: “This acquisition advances our ongoing R&D transformation to accelerate development of the most promising medicines that will address significant patient needs.

“The addition of multiple BTK inhibitors to our pipeline demonstrates our commitment to strategic product acquisitions in our priority therapeutic areas. Full ownership of our brain-penetrant BTK inhibitor ‘168 removes complexities for this priority development program and simplifies future commercialization.”

Sanofi is looking to wrap up the acquisition of the US biopharma company in Q4 2020, subject to the meeting or waiver of customary closing conditions.

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