The partnership between Sanofi and Regeneron goes back to 2003, with the former company subsequently acquiring a significant stake in the biotech, at approximately 20.6% ownership.
With the share price of Regeneron having steadily risen over the last year to be worth $569 (€521) per share, Sanofi decided the time was right to divest its holding.
The French company owns approximately 23.2 million shares of Regeneron’s common stock, which gives them a current value of around $13bn.
According to Regeneron, it will move forward to repurchase $5bn of its stock from Sanofi while the rest of the shares will be sold in a public offering.
Sanofi will retain approximately 400,000 shares after both events, which the company noted would be retained in support of its ongoing collaboration with the biotech.
During the course of their 17-year partnership, the companies have developed five medicines, with further clinical candidates in the pipeline and discovery work ongoing.
The sale of shares will give Sanofi a large injection of capital with which to pursue deals, with the company ending last year with the $2.5bn deal for Synthorx with similar sized deals expected to follow.
Paul Hudson, CEO of the company, explained in a statement, “We believe the proceeds from this transaction will help further our ability to execute on our strategy to drive innovation and growth.”
During the last few months, like much of the industry, Sanofi has shifted its attention to discovering or reutilizing existing treatments to counter the novel coronavirus.
Together with Regeneron, the partners are testing Kevzara (sarilumab) as a potential treatment for severe COVID-19 infection, though early data saw the two companies scale back trials to focus on patients deemed ‘critical’.
Alongside these efforts, Sanofi found itself in hot water after initially suggesting that the US would receive priority in receiving a potential vaccine – only for the national backlash in France to force a change of position.