Continuing the trend of recent biotechnology acquisitions, Novartis yesterday announced its purchase of publicly traded NeuTec Pharma, a British firm founded in 1997 that uses antibody fragments to develop treatments for infectious diseases. Novartis will pay approximately $569M for NeuTec, representing a premium of 109%. Novartis does not appear to have had any partnerships with NeuTec prior to the acquisition. Last year, Pfizer paid $1.9B, about an 84% premium, for Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, another company that focuses on developing anti-infectives.
NeuTec does not have any products on the market but has two in late-stage development. Mycograb, which targets hsp90, is currently awaiting EMEA approval for treating invasive candidiasis. Novartis anticipates a US filing in 2009. Aurograb is in Phase III development for treating methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Novartis plans to file Aurograb in both Europe and the US in 2010.
No surprise, Sidney Taurel, Eli Lilly’s CEO says that consolidation will continue as pharmaceutical companies struggle to find growth. As mentioned in a previous post, both private and public companies will continue to attract substantial premiums with such a demand for pipeline products.