2020-12-23| M&A

Servier Aims to Expand Portfolio for Hematological Cancers by Acquiring Agios

by Daniel Ojeda
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On December 21st, Servier announced that it would acquire Agios Pharmaceuticals for up to $2 billion. This acquisition will give Servier two FDA approved therapeutics, TIBSOVO, and IDHIFA, as well as Agios’ entire clinical and research-stage oncology portfolio and employees. With these, Servier is trying to cement a position in the US for treatments of hematological malignancies, and Agios’ portfolio will complement their three FDA approved therapies. The acquisition is expected to close in mid-2021.

Currently, there are over 1.2 million in the US living with or in remission from some type of blood cancer. This year alone, it is predicted that almost 180,000 people will be diagnosed with some type of blood or hematological cancers. That is almost 10% of all cancer diagnoses in the US in 2020. Blood cancers vary widely on their genetic cause, so there is an unmet need for this type of cancer, and there has been a push for more personalized approaches for treatment.

The French pharmaceutical company Sevier has made oncology a priority, as shown by allocating 50% of its research and development budget to this area. They started operating in the US in 2018 and currently have three FDA-approved drugs to treat different hematological malignancies. These are ONCASPAR and ASPARLAS, both are chemotherapy agents for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and PUXUVRI, which is approved for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They currently have 13 advertised Phase 1 products in development for a variety of hematological cancers. However, only a small number of them are being developed and commercialized by Servier in the US as of the writing of this note.


About the Deal

By acquiring Agios Pharmaceutical, Servier aims to obtain a better foothold in the US market. As part of the deal, Servier will pay $1.8 billion upfront and a potential $200 million based on regulatory milestones, plus royalties. In return, Servier will get Agios’ oncology portfolio, which includes two FDA approved drugs, TIBSOVO, a monotherapy used to treat adults with IDH1-mutant Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and IDHIFA, which is co-commercialized with Bristol Myers Squibb for the treatment of IDG2-mutant AML.

Furthermore, Servier will obtain two therapeutics currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, Mitapivat and Vorasidenib, and two investigational therapies in Phase 1 clinical trials, AG-270 and AG-946, as well as all research programs. It is important to mention that Vorasidenib and AG-270 are being developed for the treatment of solid tumors, providing a new space that Servier could grow into. Finally, Service will also gain new expertise in research and development as it will maintain all Agios’ US-based employees.

“Agios is a leader in the cellular metabolism space with a proven track record of discovering, developing, and commercializing precision medicines,” said David K. Lee, CEO, Servier Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. subsidiary of Servier. “The acquisition of Agios’ oncology business, including highly experienced talent from research, development, technical operations and commercial functions, allows for an immediate expansion of our U.S. business into other hematologic malignancies and provides the potential for longer-term growth into the solid tumor space, thus ensuring that we can serve more patients living with unmet cancer needs than ever before.”

By Daniel Ojeda, Ph.D.

Related Article: Boehringer Ingelheim’s Newest Acquisition Reinforces its Focus on Immuno-Oncology



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