Belgium-based biopharmaceutical firm UCB has agreed to acquire US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Ra Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at around $2.1bn.
Under the deal, Ra Pharmaceuticals shareholders will secure $48 in cash for each of its share at closing.
Based in Cambridge of Massachusetts, Ra Pharma uses an advanced peptide chemistry platform for the development of novel therapeutics to treat serious diseases caused by excessive or uncontrolled activation of the complement system, a major component of the innate immune system.
Ra Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Dr Doug Treco said: “UCB shares our commitment to the rare disease patient community and our goal of developing novel, accessible, and cost-effective therapies in the areas of immunology and neurology.”
Ra Pharma’s ExtremeDiversity platform facilitates the production of synthetic macrocyclic peptides through integrating the diversity and specificity of antibodies with the pharmacological properties of small molecules.
Zilucoplan, which is the company’s phase 3 product candidate, is a once-daily self-administered, subcutaneous peptide inhibitor of C5. It is being evaluated in phase 3 for the treatment of myasthenia gravis (gMG).
The gMG is an unpredictable and chronic auto-immune condition, in which auto-antibodies infect specific proteins in the neuro-muscular junction.
Zilucoplan is also believed to hold the potential to treat immune-mediated necrotising myopathy (IMNM), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other tissue-based complement-mediated disorders.
In addition, Ra Pharma is engaged in the development of an extended release formulation of zilucoplan and potential first-in-class oral small molecule C5 inhibitor.
Subject to approval by Ra Pharma shareholders and other customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2020.
UCB CEO Jean-Christophe Tellier said: “Ra Pharma is an excellent strategic fit addressing multiple areas of UCB’s patient value growth strategy.
“Upon closing, the acquisition will add to our strong internal growth opportunities – six potential product launches in the next five years, strengthening our neurology and immunology franchises with late and early-state pipeline projects.”