Monday 25 November 2019 11:55 am

Novartis agrees $9.7bn deal for US heart drug maker

Novartis has announced it will buy American drug company the Medicines Co for $9.7bn (£7.6bn) in the hope its new cholesterol drug Inclisiran will reshape the heart medicine market.

The Swiss drugmaker is paying $85 per share, a 24 per cent premium on the Medicines CO’s Friday closing price of $68.55.

Read more: Novartis agrees Aspen generics acquisition for €400m

Inclisiran is the only drug that the US firm currently makes. The new treatment only requires two injections a year to administer, unlike rival medicines such as Amgen’s Repatha, which needs 26.

Novartis are confident that the drug, which still requires approval from regulators, could become one of its bestsellers.

The acquisition is yet another big money deal from chief executive Vas Narasimhan, after last year’s $8.7bn purchase of gene therapy specialist Avexis.

Narasimhan said: “We are excited about entering into an agreement to acquire The Medicines Company as inclisiran is a potentially transformational medicine that reimagines the treatment of heart disease.

“With tens of millions of patients at higher risk of cardiovascular events, we believe that Inclisiran could contribute significantly to improved patient outcomes and help healthcare systems address the leading global cause of death.

“The prospect of bringing Inclisiran to patients also fits with our overall strategy to transform Novartis into a focused medicines company and adds an investigational therapy with the potential to be a significant driver of Novartis’ growth in the medium to long term.”

The new drug is seen as a complement to Novartis’ heart-failure treatment Entresto, which last year brought in $1bn in revenue.

The string of acquisitions comes as the company awaits patents to expire for macular degeneration treatment Lucentis and multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya, which is worth $3.3bn.

Read more: Drug maker Novartis cuts more than 2000 jobs at Grimsby factory

When cardiovascular drug Diovan lost patent protection in 2012 Novartis lost revenues of $6bn a year.

Two weeks ago Novartis also announced that it will buy Aspen Pharmacare’s Japanese generics unit in a deal worth up to €400m (£343.8m).

The company’s shares were up nearly half a percentage point this morning.