1:15 PM
 | 
Apr 16, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Servier to gain Shire's cancer business, Oncaspar for $2.4B

Shire plc (LSE:SHP; NASDAQ:SHPG) said it will sell its cancer business, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) drug Oncaspar pegaspargase, to Servier (Suresnes, France) for $2.4 billion in cash.

In addition to Oncaspar, Servier will gain rights outside of the U.S. and Taiwan to pancreatic cancer drug Onivyde irinotecan, plus Shire's calaspargase pegol (Cal-PEG; SHP663), which is under FDA review to treat ALL in a first-line setting. Servier will also acquire separate early stage immuno-oncology collaborations with Precision BioSciences Inc. (Durham, N.C.) to develop CAR T cell therapies for up to six targets and with Symphogen A/S (Lyngby, Denmark) to develop checkpoint inhibitors for up to six targets. Shire's cancer teams will join Servier under the deal, which is expected to close in 2Q18 or 3Q18.

Onivyde is in Phase II testing to treat pancreatic cancer and Phase I testing to treat small cell lung cancer in the second-line setting. Shire has rights to Onivyde from Ipsen Group (Euronext:IPN; Pink:IPSEY) (see BioCentury, July 14, 2017).

Servier said the deal will provide it with an "immediate and direct commercial presence" in the U.S. In February, it launched Servier BioInnovation -- its first U.S.-based office -- to drive R&D and business development activity in the U.S.

Shire split its neuroscience and rare disease businesses into two divisions in January, with plans to expand the former beyond ADHD this year. The pharma said it began the process of divesting its cancer business that same month (see BioCentury Extra, Jan. 9).

The divestiture comes more than two weeks after Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Tokyo:4502) confirmed it is considering making an offer to acquire Shire. With Shire's oncology business sold, the potential acquisition would further shift Takeda’s center of gravity from its core areas of cancer, GI diseases and CNS diseases (see BioCentury, March 30).

Takeda declined to comment on how Monday's deal affects its view of a strategic overlap.

For 2017, Shire reported revenues of $262 million for its cancer business.

Oncaspar is a pegylated L-asparaginase and Onivyde is a nanoparticle liposome formulation of irinotecan. Cal-PEG is a pegylated L-asparaginase that Shire believes could have a longer shelf life than Oncaspar. It has a PDUFA date of Dec. 22 (see BioCentury Extra, Feb. 28).

Shire slid 47.50p to 3,559p in London and gained $0.22 to $152.41 on NASDAQ on Monday.

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