November 24, 2019 / 8:21 PM / 13 days ago

Novartis to buy U.S. biotech The Medicines Co. for $9.7 bln

ZURICH, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Novartis AG is buying U.S. biotechnology company The Medicines Co for about $9.7 billion, the Swiss drugmaker said on Sunday, as it seeks to expand its portfolio of medicines against cardiovascular disease.

The deal is expected to help to broaden the Swiss drugmaker’s range of heart medicines and shore up growth threatened by patent expirations.

Novartis is paying $85 per share in cash, an approximately 24% premium over The Medicines Co.’s closing share price of $68.55 on November 22, Novartis said in a statement, adding the transaction had been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

New Jersey-based The Medicines Co’s top drug candidate is cholesterol-lowering drug inclisiran for heart patients, which could complement Novartis’s growing business with its heart-failure medicine Entresto, a slow-seller to start that has now crossed the $1 billion annual revenue threshold.

The deal shows that Novartis is willing to spend billions on not only rare disease treatments, as it did in 2018 when it paid out $8.7 billion to buy gene therapy specialist AveXis, but also for cardiovascular treatments aimed at helping potentially millions of patients.

Novartis has historically had a strong cardiovascular drug franchise, but lost ground when Diovan, once a $6 billion-per-year seller, lost patent protection in 2012 and left the company without an immediate, innovative follow-up product.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and John Miller. Editing by Jane Merriman

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