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Biogen boosts ophthalmology portfolio with $800m acquisition of gene therapy firm Nightstar

Published on 04/03/19 at 10:22am

Biogen has announced it has inked an agreement to acquire clinical-stage gene therapy firm Nightstar for a total value of $800 million, which breaks down to $2.50 in cash per share after transaction expenses are taken into account.  

Based in London, Nightstar focuses on the development of adeno-associated virus (AAV) treatments for inherited retinal disorders. The deal means that Biocon picks up Nightstar’s lead candidate, NSR-REP1, a treatment for the rare, degenerative, X-linked inherited retinal disorder choroideremia (CHM), which is currently undergoing Phase 3 trials and has shown potentially meaningful efficacy in slowing decline of visual acuity.

Biogen also acquires NSR-RPGR for the treatment of another rare inherited condition, X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP). The drug is currently being trialled in a Phase 2/3 dose expansion study.

“Ophthalmology is an emerging growth area for Biogen, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with the talented employees at Nightstar to advance potentially transformative gene therapy programs for rare retinal diseases,” said Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this proposed acquisition, we are continuing to bolster our pipeline and further execute on our strategy to develop and expand a multi-franchise neuroscience pipeline across complementary modalities. Nightstar would accelerate our entry into ophthalmology by contributing two mid- to late-stage gene therapy assets, with the potential to create long-term shareholder value.”

The deal will be funded with available cash, and is expected to close later by mid-2019.

Matt Fellows

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