The Deal: Sanofi to Take 12% of Alnylam

LONDON (The Deal) -- French drug giant Sanofi on Monday, Jan. 13, expanded a rare-disease alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) that would leave the French drug giant with a minority Alnylam stake and access to the target's portfolio through 2020.

Sanofi, of Paris, said it would pay $700 million, or about $80 per share, to buy 12% of Cambridge, Mass.-based Alnylam. The price is a 21% premium to the stock's Friday close.

The deal was struck through Sanofi's Genzyme biotech division, which it bought in 2011 for $20.1 billion. The agreement builds on a 2012 cooperation in which Genzyme is pitching in on the development and marketing in Asia Pacific of Alnylam's patisiran treatment for a rare nervous system disorder.

Sanofi will now have the right to market patisiran, which passed Phase II testing in November for the treatment of transthyretin (TTR)-familial amyloid, everywhere but western Europe and North America. The two will also co-develop a similar treatment for another nervous system disorder -- familial amyloid cardiomyopathy -- in North America and western Europe while Genzyme has exclusive rights to sell the drug in other regions.

The deal also gives Sanofi the right of first refusal on future Alnylam drugs to treat rare genetic diseases for development and commercialization outside of North America and Western Europe through to 2020.

"This collaboration is an important building block for our future. It strengthens our pipeline and provides us with the opportunity to meet the needs of patients with rare diseases around the world," said Genzyme CEO and President David Meeker in a statement.

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