Novo Holdings, the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s holding and investment company, declared plans for a $16.5bn acquisition of Catalent as the company expands its manufacturing capabilities.

In the merger, Novo Holdings will receive all outstanding shares of Catalent for $63.50 per share in cash. This price reflects a premium of 39.1% to the closing price of Catalent’s common stock on 28 August 2023. This date was the contract development and manufacturing organisation’s (CDMO) last trading day before announcing Catalent’s new strategic and operational review committee, which assessed the company’s business strategy and operations. The Catalent board unanimously advised Catalent stockholders to complete the merger.

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In a 5 February press release, Novo expressed plans to complete the deal towards the end of this year, dependent on closing conditions, which include gaining approval from Catalent’s stockholders and securing necessary regulatory approvals.

Novo is flush with cash these days as is evident in Novo Nordisk’s 2023 annual earnings report. The company reported a revenue of approximately DKr78bn ($11.2bn) from its diabetes care portfolio.

Novo Holdings also outlined plans to sell three of Catalent’s fill-finish sites and related assets, acquired through the deal, to Novo Nordisk. The three manufacturing sites in Italy, the US, and Belgium will be added to Novo Nordisk’s diabetes and obesity supply chain network. Novo Nordisk will pay $11bn upfront for the extra facilities.

Novo Nordisk has been consistently bulking its manufacturing operations in the last few years, following obesity and diabetes drug shortages in several countries. For example, in December 2023, the Danish company announced the acquisition of Alkermes’ Irish manufacturing plant in a $92.5m deal. Before this, in November 2023, the pharma giant declared plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Chartres, France, to increase capacity for its GLP-1 products such as Ozempic (semaglutide). Novo Nordisk has also invested in its obesity pipeline this year through a $235m partnership with the Swiss biotech EraCal Therapeutics.

Novo Nordisk’s therapeutic pipeline currently contains ten diabetes therapies, including GLP-1 receptor agonists and insulin analogues. The company also has six obesity therapies in its portfolio.