Sanofi looks to close $1 billion deal Flexion

pharmafile | March 24, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing Sanofi, flexion therapeutics, osteo 

According to reports emerging, Sanofi may be on the verge of closing a deal with Burlington-based biotech, Flexion Therapeutics. The deal is thought to be valued at around $1 billion and could potentially close quickly, with Flexion’s board thought to have agreed to the offer but with the finer details still be smoothed through.

Flexion’s main product, Zilretta, currently undergoing FDA review, is a treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The key selling point of the drug is that, unlike current treatments that offer only a few weeks of pain relief, it could extend pain relief for a longer period of time. This would be a major improvement, as steroid injections are not recommended to be administered more than once every three months. The treatment is a combination of a corticosteroid with a polymer designed to prolong pain relief. Flexion applied for an NDA for the product in December of last year.

The treatment, if approved by the FDA, would come into direct competition with Synvisc, Sanofi’s hyaluronon-based injection that brought in €408 million for the company last year. The synergy on the potential deal is obvious and the sales projections for Zilretta are equally promising – with the suggestion that it could bring in peak sales around the region of $500 million but, with a potential to expand indications, that figure could increase further.

For Sanofi, if the deal were pushed over the line, it could mean that Sanofi’s reputation as being forever the bridesmaid could come to an end. Most recently, Sanofi lost out to Johnson & Johnson in a bid to acquire Actelion and to Pfizer over Medivation. The deal is comparatively much smaller but investors reacted by pushing the price of Sanofi shares higher on the news.

Ben Hargreaves

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