Epilepsy drug maker Zogenix soars on UCB's potential $2 bln deal
Jan 19 (Reuters) - Shares of Zogenix Inc (ZGNX.O) soared more than 60% on Wednesday after Belgium's UCB SA (UCB.BR) agreed to buy the U.S. drugmaker in a deal worth up to $1.9 billion to expand its portfolio of rare disease drugs and epilepsy treatments.
California-based Zogenix in 2020 had gained approval from U.S. and European regulators for its drug Fintepla to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare form of childhood epilepsy with limited treatment options. The drug brought in sales of $21.4 million in the third quarter.
The company is also seeking an official nod for Fintepla to treat Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), another rare form of childhood epilepsy, which could help bolster sales.
Acquiring Zogenix will allow UCB to move deeper into the epilepsy market, where it already sells drugs such as Vimpat and Briviact.
The Belgian firm's offer of $26.00 per share in cash represents a 66% premium to Zogenix's last closing price. UCB said it expects to pay that through available cash and a new term loan.
Zogenix shareholders will also review a so-called contingent value right of $2 if Fintepla gains European approval to treat LGS by Dec. 31, 2023.
Shares in Zogenix were up 65.9% at $25.95 premarket on Wednesday.
The deal also comes months after Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc (JAZZ.O) sealed a $7.2 billion deal to buy GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes a cannabis-based drug to treat Dravet syndrome and LGS.
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