In bid to remake itself after pancreatic cancer flop, Halozyme acquires Antares and its drug delivery tech for $960M
After the market hibernated for much of the first quarter, things are starting to get moving as the calendar turns toward Q2. And following the big news of GlaxoSmithKline’s Sierra buyout earlier Wednesday, another biotech deal landed to give the M&A seekers something to cheer about.
Halozyme will acquire Antares Pharma for $960 million, the companies announced Wednesday morning, valuing the smaller company at $5.60 per share — a roughly 49% premium from Tuesday’s close. It’s a deal that will provide Halozyme not just with Antares’ approved drugs but its drug delivery tech, which the biotech noted in a release was a key focus.
“The addition of Antares, particularly with its best-in-class auto injector platform and specialty commercial business, augments Halozyme’s strategy,” Halozyme CEO Helen Torley said in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report that a deal was close.
For Halozyme, the move marks a significant step in a yearslong restructuring process that began with a Phase III fail in pancreatic cancer in 2019. At the time, the biotech was forced to lay off about 160 staffers after patients on the control arm survived longer than those taking its experimental drug in combination with Abraxane.
Halozyme's lead drug flops in PhIII, forcing CEO to ax 160 and reset focus on tech platform
The shift following the flop saw Halozyme launch a new strategy around drug delivery tech, capitalizing on one of its products designed to reformulate existing drugs into subcutaneous versions, shortening the administration time and making it more convenient. The product, known as Enhanze, has been licensed to a variety of biopharmas, including J&J for its best-selling Darzalex, and Halozyme partnered with ViiV last year to try to develop long-acting HIV meds.
It’s here where Halozyme ostensibly saw Antares as a logical fit. The biotech has made use of its auto injector platform to develop several devices, which have already nabbed FDA approval after the agency greenlighted a testosterone replacement treatment in 2018. The drug, dubbed Xyosted, comes with a boxed warning for increased blood pressure and subsequent cardiovascular problems.
Halozyme noted in its release that it views the platform as one that “offers a widely licensable product suite that can be broadly applied across a spectrum of market segments representing multiple tens of billions of dollars in estimated peak sales.” And while it noted the versatility of the devices, Halozyme didn’t give any hints as to where it might focus first.
Also coming along in the deal is Antares’ oral testosterone therapy Tlando, approved last month; a nocturnal polyuria treatment taken by oral film, known as Nocdurna; and a generic sumatriptan injection, which is co-distributed by Teva, to treat acute migraines and cluster headaches in adults.