Shire sells cancer biz for $2.4bn

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/CIPhotos)
(Image: Getty/CIPhotos)
Shire has sold its oncology business to French firm Servier S.A.S as it looks to better align its long-term strategy.

Under terms of the sale, French firm Servier S.A.S will pay $2.4bn (€1.94bn) in cash for Shire’s in-market products indicated to treat various types of cancer, as well its oncology-focused pipeline.

Authorised drug products include Oncaspar (pegaspargase), a component of multi-agent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and ex-US rights to Onivyde (irinotecan pegylated liposomal formulation), a component of multi-agent treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer post gemcitabine-based therapy.

The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol (Cal-PEG), which is under US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review for the treatment of ALL and early stage immuno-oncology pipeline collaborations.

The deal does not include any facilities: “Our oncology products are manufactured by third parties,” ​we were told.

A Shire spokesperson said oncology business employees will also be transferred to Servier.

“We will follow a thoughtful and compliant process as we continue our dialogue with impacted employees,” ​they said.

The transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2018.

A strategic decision

Ireland-headquartered Shire said its oncology branch does not align with its long-term business strategy.

“Sale of the oncology business, with revenues in 2017 of $262m, is a key milestone for Shire demonstrating the clear value embedded in our portfolio,”​ the spokesperson told us.

“While the oncology business has delivered high growth and profitability, we have concluded that it is not core to Shire’s longer-term strategy,” ​they added.

Takeda takeover?

Last month Takeda expressed interest​ in acquiring Shire, which according to the Japanese firm would boost its rare disease capabilities and pipeline and realign its geographical focus.

Yesterday, Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov said proceeds from the Servier transaction will increase the firm’s "optionality."

“Shire’s Board will consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders through a shareholder-approved share buyback after the current offer period regarding Takeda’s possible offer for Shire concludes,” ​he said.

In November last year, Servier announced plans​ to spend $7.5m on new technology, invest $58m in its biologics programme, and double capacity at a facility in China.

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