Biogen Bets On Gene Therapy, Agrees To Acquire Nightstar For $800M

Biogen Inc BIIB is the latest biotech company to jump onto the gene therapy bandwagon.

What To Know

Biogen, which focuses on developing therapies for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, has agreed to acquire U.K.-based gene therapy company Nightstar Therapeutics PLC NITE for $25.50 per share in cash or a total transaction value of $800 million, after accounting for the expected transaction expenses and anticipated cash at closing.

The per share value of the transaction represented a premium of over 68 percent to Nightstar's closing price Friday.

Nightstar focuses on adeno-associated virus, or AAV, treatments for inherited retinal disorders.

Gene therapy is a technique that uses genes to treat a disorder by inserting genetic material into cells to make up for abnormal genes or to make a beneficial protein, and genetically engineered vector such as viruses are used to deliver the gene.

Biogen expects to fund the purchase through available cash. The deal is to be implemented by means of a U.K. Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the U.K. Companies Act 2006.

The closing of the proposed deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Nightstar shareholders, a U.K. court order and the receipt of regulatory approvals, but do not require vetting by Biogen shareholders.

Why It's Important

The proposed acquisition gives Biogen a means for bolstering its pipeline and expand a multi-franchise neuroscience pipeline across complementary modalities.

Nightstar's lead asset NSR-REP1 is being evaluated in a late-stage study for treating choroideremia, a degenerative X-linked inherited retinal disorder that causes blindness and has no currently approved treatments. Data readout from the Phase 2 trial dubbed STAR is expected in the second half of 2020.

It has another asset codenamed NSR-RPGR, which is being tested in a Phase 1/2 study for retinitis pigmentosa, which is also a rare inherited retinal disease primarily affecting males with no approved treatment.

"Ophthalmology is an emerging growth area for Biogen, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with the talented employees at Nightstar to advance potentially transformative gene therapy programs for rare retinal diseases," said Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos.

Biogen expects the deal to close by mid-year.

In pre-market trading, Nightstar shares are soaring 67.22 percent to $25.35.

Related Links:

The Week Ahead In Biotech: Conferences, PDUFA Dates, Clinical Trials, Earnings, IPOs

Novavax Re-Enters Penny Stock Territory After Respiratory Disease Vaccine Flunks Late-Stage Trial

Posted In: gene therapyMichel VounatsosBiotechLong IdeasNewsHealth CareM&ATop StoriesTrading IdeasGeneral

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.