The acquisition will complement Novo Nordisk’s strategy to focus on haemoglobinopathies, a group of disorders characterised by abnormal production or structure of the haemoglobin protein in the red blood cells

Novo Nordisk headquarters, Denmark

Novo Nordisk headquarters, Denmark. (Credit: Novo Nordisk A/S)

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based biopharmaceutical company Forma Therapeutics in a transaction valued at $1.1bn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will acquire all the outstanding shares of Forma Therapeutics’ common stock at a price $20 per share in cash.

The purchase price is said to be 92% premium to Forma Therapeutics’ volume-weighted average share price in the last 30 days ended 31 August 2022.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Forma Therapeutics Board of Directors.

In addition, certain affiliates of RA Capital Management, which collectively own around 19% of Forma Therapeutics shares, have agreed to tender their shares, said Novo Nordisk.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to certain conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

Novo Nordisk said that the acquisition is in line with its strategy to advance its scientific presence and pipeline in haemoglobinopathies.

Haemoglobinopathies are a group of disorders characterised by abnormal production or structure of the haemoglobin protein in the red blood cells.

Novo Nordisk executive vice president and rare disease head Ludovic Helfgott said: “Novo Nordisk has worked for more than 40 years to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases.

“By adding Forma’s differentiated approach to address unmet needs for patients, we are taking a step forward in enhancing our sickle cell disease pipeline.

“We have an ambition to build a leading portfolio with standalone and combination treatments to tackle the complications and underlying causes of sickle cell disease.”

Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing treatments for sickle cell disease (SCD) and other rare blood disorders.

Through the acquisition, Novo Nordisk will obtain its lead drug candidate Etavopivat.

Etavopivat is an investigational oral, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator, being developed to improve anaemia and red blood cell health in people with SCD.

The drug is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2/3 SCD clinical trial, and in a Phase 2 trial in patients with transfusion-dependent SCD, along with thalassemia, an inherited haemoglobinopathy.

Etavopivat has been granted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Fast Track, Rare Pediatric Disease and Orphan Drug designations.

In addition, the drug was also granted Orphan Drug designation from the European Commission (EC) based on a positive opinion from the EMA’s CHMP.

Moelis & Company UK served as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell as legal advisor to Novo Nordisk, on this transaction.

Also, Centerview Partners served as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter as legal advisor to Forma Therapeutics.