After declaring its intention to purchase Inhibrx for $1.7bn in January, Sanofi has announced that it has completed its acquisition of the clinical-stage biotech, gaining access to Inhibrx’s extensive pipeline of new biologics that target oncology and rare diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, former shareholders will receive $30 per share of common stock of Inhibrx. These shareholders are also eligible to receive a $5 deferred cash payment per share should a regulatory milestone be achieved following the acquisition.

As per the 30 May press release, Inhibrx common stock will be deregistered and no longer be traded on the NASDAQ Global Market as of today.

Upon acquisition, Sanofi will add to its rare disease pipeline, SAR447537 (formerly INBRX-101), a human recombinant protein in development for the treatment of patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), a rare disease. SAR447537 is designed to treat the condition by reducing inflammation and blocking  the progressive deterioration of lung function.

According to GlobalData’s consensus forecasts, SAR447537 is expected to generate total sales of $826m in 2030. GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

AATD is an autosomal recessive inherited rare disease that is characterised by levels of alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) that fall well below the normal range. The disease typically affects the lungs with progressive degeneration and deterioration of tissue.  

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Sanofi’s latest acquisition is consistent with the increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) seen across biopharma in Q1 2024. According to GlobalData Healthcare analysts, Q1 2024 saw a 20% increase in total deal volume compared to Q1 2023, with the total M&A deal value reaching $43.5bn and a 71% increase in deals that were valuated at $1bn or more.

GlobalData Healthcare analysts reported that the recent upward trend—despite the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcing stricter guidelines on M&A regulation in December 2023—is indicative of a “return in dealmaking confidence” that may signify that big pharma is looking to mitigate challenges from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Sanofi previously bowed to the FTC’s demands in December 2023 and ended its licensing agreement with Maze Therapeutics, as the FTC raised concerns about the deal resulting in a monopoly and exorbitant pricing.

The potential impacts and knock-on effects that the IRA may have on R&D was also a point of concern for speakers at the London BioTrinity 2024 conference.