US-based biotech Aditxt is venturing into the women’s health market after it acquired Evofem Biosciences in a deal worth approximately $100m.

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

The sale comes after a strategic review by Evofem in February 2023, with the company weighing up options including a merger, business combination, or sales of assets.

As part of the acquisition, Aditxt will assume senior secured debt of the troubled women’s health company and will pay $5m to Evofem’s senior debtholder by the end of this year, $8m by September 2024, and another $5m after that, according to a joint press release.

Evofem’s common stockholders will exchange their shares for an aggregate of 610,000 shares of Aditxt common stock. There will also be an extra 89,126 shares of Aditxt preferred stock issued to Evofem investors with outstanding loans and debts.

Evofem will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Aditxt, with CEO Saundra Pelletier continuing to lead the team.

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Pelletier said in a statement: “We believe this transaction is in the best interests of our shareholders and are confident that they and the women we serve will benefit from our expanded offering and stronger voice.”

Evofem is best known as the marketer of Phexxi (lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate) vaginal gel. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020 for the prevention of pregnancy in women as an on-demand method of contraception.

Evofem states that the gel, formerly known as Amphora, is the only FDA-approved hormone-free contraceptive gel available. It is designed to be used an hour before intercourse as a non-daily option for women in the US.

The drug saw net sales of $16.8m in 2022. Sales have plateaued, with the company reporting $13.4m worth of Phexxi sales so far this year in a November press release.

Evofem has experienced financial difficulties since the gel’s approval. The company targeted cost-cutting across many of its operations, including selling and marketing expenses, R&D costs, and administrative expenses.

There has been increased competition in the contraceptive market this year, with the FDA approving the over-the-counter birth control pill Opill (norgestrel), marketed by Perrigo.

GlobalData estimates that there were $5.8bn sales of contraceptive drugs in the US in 2022.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Evofem reported favourable news for its investors in its Q3 earnings, saying that a generic drug maker will no longer seek FDA approval for a generic version of Phexxi until patent expiration. This means Aditxt will potentially have market exclusivity until 2033.