Alexion in $1.4bn buyout for reversal agent

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: GettyAndreyPopov)
(Image: GettyAndreyPopov)

Related tags Alexion Portola Pharmaceuticals acquisition

Alexion agrees deal for Portola to gain access to its lead product, Andexxa, a treatment that counteracts anticoagulants.

The deal sees Alexion agree to pay $18 (€16.6) per share for Portola Pharmaceuticals, which works out to an approximate deal cost of $1.4bn (€1.3bn).

Technically, Portola has two products within its portfolio, Andexxa/Ondexxya (coagulation factor Xa (recombinant), inactivated) and Bevyxxa (betrixaban). However, it is the former product that was the motivator behind Alexion’s decision to make the acquisition.

Andexxa is a factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent, which has been approved to reverse the anticoagulant effects of rivaroxaban and rivaroxaban in severe and uncontrolled bleeding.

Bevyxxa is a factor Xa (FXa) inhibitor indicated for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism, though Portola decided to discontinue the commercialization of the product prior to its purchase.

Alexion’s portfolio is currently anchored by Soliris (eculizumab) and its longer-lasting version Ultomiris (ravuliziumab), which are both treatments for various rare diseases.

The addition of Andexxa then does not fit exactly into the company’s portfolio of rare disease treatments. However, Alexion believes that it can increase sales of Andexxa, which recorded full year 2019 sales of $116.6m.

Alexion’s strategy is one of increasing access; Brian Goff, chief commercial and global operations officer at Alexion, explained, “We anticipate that our existing presence in critical care will allow us to support significantly increased utilization and accelerate adoption of Andexxa.”

Further than being able to boost sales of the product, the company also added that the deal would bring ‘near-term diversification’ to its portfolio.

With its lead product, Soliris, facing biosimilar competition​ in the coming years, having further products to draw on could help the company dampen any drop in revenue.

Alexion is expecting to close the transaction in the third quarter of 2020.

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