London-based clinical-stage gene therapy firm Nightstar
Therapeutics (NITE 25.18, +10.02, +66.09%) jumps higher on Monday in reaction
to news that Massachusetts-based drug manufacturer Biogen (BIIB 333.14, -0.96,
-0.29%) will acquire the company for $25.50 per share in cash.
The two parties announced the deal in a joint press release this morning; the deal holds that Nightstar will be acquired by Tungsten Bidco Limited (a newly-incorporated company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Biogen Switzerland Holdings GmhH). The acquisition is intended to be implemented by means of a U.K. Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the U.K. Companies Act 2006.
Nightstar focuses mainly on adeno-associated virus treatments for inherited retinal disorders. In mid-November, NITE announced a Phase 2/3 expansion study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of NSR-RPGR in patients with a diagnosis of XLRP due to RPGR mutations, as confirmed by genetic testing. XLRP is, put succinctly, a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a rare inherited X-linked recessive genetic retinal disorder primarily affecting males.
The Phase 2/3 expansion study began by the end of 2018. Preliminary efficacy data is expected to be available in mid-2019, with a one-year follow-up data from the expansion study expected in 2020.
Back in September 2018, NITE stock fell on some hard times when the company announced a proof of concept on its XIRIUS Trial for NSR-RPGR. The study showed that one-third of patients who received higher doses of NSR-REP1 experienced notable improvements but also detailed that the response rate was higher at a lower dose. The stock sold off on this news, and the following day, NITE announced a 4.0 mln share offering that eventually priced at $18.00 per ADS.
Under the terms of today’s deal, Nightstar shareholders will be entitled to receive $25.50 in cash for each Nightstar share. The terms value Nightstar’s entire issued and to be issued share capital at approximately $877 mln; the acquisition’s terms, then, represent a premium of approximately 70% to the 30-trading day volume-weighted average price (VWAP) per Nightstar ADR of $15.02 for the period from January 17, 2019 to March 1, 2019.
The acquisition is expected to become effective by mid-year 2019. The deal is an attempt by BIIB to tap into the gene therapy market. Recall that last week, Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT 147.34, +0.65, +0.44%) bought Myonexus Therapeutics for about $165 mln, and Roche Hldg (RHHBY 34.77, -0.03, -0.09%) bought gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics (ONCE 113.25, -0.03, -0.03%) for $4.3 bln.
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