Printed in January 2021 Issue
France’s Servier is closing out 2020 with a bang. The company bolstered its presence in oncology with the acquisition of the clinical and research-stage oncology business of Agios Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $2 billion.
News of the acquisition caused shares of Agios to soar more than 26% in premarket trading to $41.80.
Servier said the acquisition is in-line with the company’s strategic goal to become a “recognized and innovative player” in oncology. Servier has allocated 50% of its overall R&D budget to this therapeutic area. Agios’ oncology pipeline includes its oral leukemia treatment Tibsovo, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (R/R AML) with a susceptible isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 (IDH1) mutation. Tibsovo is also under investigation in two Phase III combination trials in newly diagnosed AML, and as a potential treatment for previously treated IDH1-mutant cholangiocarcinoma and IDH1-mutant myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). With the acquisition, Servier increases its toehold in the U.S. market, which it established in 2018 with the launch of its U.S. subsidiary.
Other assets in the deal include Vorasidenib, an investigational, brain-penetrant, dual inhibitor of mutant IDH1 and IDH2 being assessed in a Phase III trial in patients with IDH-mutant low-grade glioma, as well as AG-270, an investigational first-in-class methionine adenosyltransferase 2a (MAT2A) inhibitor and AG-636, a novel inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase.
Servier will also acquire Agios’ co-commercialization responsibilities for Bristol Myers Squibb’s Idhifa (enasidenib). That means Servier will be responsible for conducting certain clinical development activities within that development program.
Two years ago, Servier acquired Shire’s oncology business for $2.4 billion, which includes Oncospar (pegaspargase), a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and ex-U.S. rights to Onivyde (irinotecan pegylated liposomal formulation) for pancreatic cancer.
Olivier Laureau, president of Servier, said the strategic acquisition of Agios’ oncology business supports the company’s goal of bolstering its presence in the lucrative oncology market and also supports its commitment to bringing new and innovative treatments to patients.