By Ludwig Burger and Dina Kartit
(Reuters) -France’s Sanofi (NASDAQ:) has agreed to acquire Provention Bio (NASDAQ:) for $2.9 billion to bolster its work on type 1 diabetes therapy and to strengthen its drug pipeline following development setbacks.
The deal would give the French drugmaker full ownership of the approved Tzield injection to delay progression of type 1 diabetes, which usually appears during childhood or adolescence, affecting about 65,000 people every year, it said in a statement.
While growth in asthma and eczema drug Dupix is boosting Sanofi’s sales, investors have criticised its drug development pipeline as weak.
Shares have yet to recover from a plunge in August following disappointing trial results of a once-promising breast cancer drug candidate.
Sanofi, maker of long acting insulin products Toujeo and Lantus for type 2 diabetes, in 2019 quit further type 2 diabetes drug development.
U.S.-based biotech firm Provention Bio won approval in the United States last year for Tzield, making it the first drug indicated to delay the onset of the third and final stage of diabetes in adults and children aged 8 years and older at stage 2.
The transaction builds on an existing co-promotion deal between Sanofi and Provention Bio to provide Tzield to patients in need, the French company said in a statement.
“Given our existing partnership and complementary work in the diabetes and immunology spaces, we foresee a seamless integration and execution,” said Sanofi’s Executive Vice President General Medicines Olivier Charmeil.
The deal also adds certain early drug development assets in immune-mediated diseases, Sanofi added.
It expects to complete the acquisition in the second quarter of 2023.