2022-01-20| M&A

UCB Strengthens Its Rare Disease Portfolio with Its Newest Acquisition

by Daniel Ojeda
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The Belgian biopharmaceutical UCB closed 2021 on a high note after two of its therapies, rozanolixizumab and bimekizumab showed topline results in multiple Phase 3 clinical trials. Now, UCB decided to start 2022 by acquiring Zogenix. The acquisition is set to bolster its epilepsy and rare disease portfolio.

In a day when the NASDAQ biotechnology index lost around 1%, traders rewarded both companies. After the announcement, Zogenix’s stock skyrocketed by almost 60%. For its part, UCB rose 2.4%.  

“The proposed acquisition of Zogenix reinforces UCB’s sustainable patient value strategy and continued commitment to addressing unmet needs of people living with epilepsy with an increasing focus on those living with specific or rare forms of epilepsy, where few options exist,” said Charl van Zyl, Executive Vice President, Neurology & Head of Europe/International Markets, UCB.


1.9 Billion Deal for Strengthening Epilepsy Pipeline


UCB agreed to buy Zogenix for up to $1.9 billion. It will buy all outstanding shares of Zogenix for $26 per share in cash. That is a 72% premium for the rare disease company. 

Zogenix stockholders are also entitled to an additional $2 per share in cash. The milestone payment is contingent upon EU approval of Fintepla for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome by the end of 2023. 

The deal will be financed using available cash and a new term loan, and it is expected to close by the second quarter of 2022.

UCB already has four epilepsy treatments on its portfolio. By acquiring Zogenix, UCB expands its epilepsy catalog even further by adding one FDA-approved therapy, and a Phase 3 clinical trial candidate. 

Charl van Zyl added “Complementing UCB’s existing therapeutic offerings, the Zogenix acquisition provides UCB with an approved medicine for a life-threatening, rare infant- and childhood-onset epilepsy marked by frequent and severe treatment-resistant seizures, that are particularly challenging to treat,”


About Zogenix, a Clinical-Stage sector with Two Rare Disease Therapeutics


Based in California, Zogenix specializes in the development of therapies for the treatment of rare diseases. Its pipeline consists of two therapeutics: Fintepla and MT1621.

Its lead therapeutic, Fintepla, is an anti-seizure medication. It acts as a serotonergic agent and a positive modular of Sigma1R. Fintepla is approved for the treatment of Dravet syndrome in the US and EU. It is also under regulatory review in Japan. 

Although Fintepla grossed $21.4 million in net sales in Q4 of 2021. The rollout of the drug was slowed down by the pandemic. This contributed to shares of Zogenix decreasing by around 40% since the FDA approval of Fintepla in 2020. 

Zogenix is pursuing additional indications for Fintepla. They have submitted applications to the US and EU regulatory agencies to approve Fintepla for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Furthermore, Zogenix has two active Phase 3 clinical trials. One investigated Fintepla as a therapy for CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, and one for the use of MT1621 for the treatment of Thymidine Kinase 2 Deficiency.

With UCB’s global reach the role out of both medications is expected to accelerate benefiting patients, and providing additional revenue for the company. 

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