Still Eyeing Baxalta, Shire Pulls Trigger on $6.5B Dyax Buyout

Xconomy Boston — 

With biotech stocks well off their highs, it was only a matter of time until someone pulled the trigger on a big buyout. That someone has turned out to be Shire, which just agreed to buy Dyax of Burlington, MA, in a deal worth as much as $6.5 billion.

Shire (NYSE: SHPG), the rare disease giant with offices in Ireland and Lexington, MA, will pay $37.30 per share, or $5.9 billion up front in cash for the rights to Dyax (NASDAQ: DYAX)—a roughly 35 percent premium to Dyax’s $27.53 closing price on Friday. Dyax’s shareholders could see even more of a return, however, as Shire will shell out $4 in cash per Dyax share—a total of $646 million—should the company’s experimental drug DX-2930 win FDA approval.

The Dyax buyout is the latest deal Shire has made to scoop up treatments for hereditary angioedema, a rare disease that causes painful swelling of the face, airways, and stomach. Two years ago, the company paid $4.2 billion for ViroPharma and its HAE drug Cinryze, adding to the one Shire already had in its portfolio, icatibant (Firazyr).  Now it’s adding two more. Dyax already has one drug on the market for HAE, sold as Kalbitor for acute attacks of HAE in patients 12 years or older. The second drug, DX-2930, is a prophylactic treatment meant to prevent HAE attacks. The drug just passed through a Phase 1b trial earlier this year, has an orphan drug designation from the FDA—which would give it longer market exclusivity—and is on the verge of late-stage testing. Shire estimates that, if approved, DX-2930 could generate as much as $2 billion annually.

Shire has been in the news for plenty of M&A-related reasons over the past year, among them buyouts of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Foresight Bio, and Meritage Pharma. But it’s also been in a very public pursuit of Baxalta, the drugmaking spinoff of Baxter International. Baxalta has fended off Shire’s approaches, but Shire is undeterred. Said CEO Flemming Ornskov, in a statement: “Even with this transaction, we will continue to have the financial firepower to pursue other value-added strategic acquisitions, including Baxalta.”

Shire will hold a conference call this morning to discuss the deal.