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Alexion diversifies treatment portfolio with $1.41 billion Portola deal

·1-min read

(Reuters) - Drugmaker Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday agreed to buy Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc in a deal that values the smaller rival at $1.41 billion to gain access to a treatment for reversing the effects of blood thinners.

Alexion, which has been fighting to maintain its leadership in treating certain rare blood disorders, has embarked on a string of acquisitions to boost its pipeline of rare disease drugs.

The acquisition will diversify Alexion's treatment portfolio beyond drugs targeting the C5 protein, which makes up part of the immune system that can sometimes attack the body's own healthy cells.

Alexion will pay $18 per Portola share in cash, a premium of 132% to Portola's last closing price, the companies said. Portola's shares, which have fallen 68% in 2020 through Monday's close, more than doubled to trade slightly below the deal price at $17.92 pre-market.

Portola's treatment, Andexxa, was approved in the United States in 2018 and had brought in sales of $111.5 million in 2019.

The treatment reverses the affects of drugs Eliquis and Xarelto in cases of life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding.

Last year, Alexion agreed to buy Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc for $930 million to gain access to its rare blood disorder treatments. Before that, it had bought Sweden's Wilson Therapeutics for $855 million and followed that up with the purchase of Syntimmune for a total value of up to $1.2 billion.

Alexion last year rejected hedge fund Elliott Management's push for a "proactive sale" process of the entire company because it would not be in the best interest of shareholders.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Amy Caren Daniel and Shounak Dasgupta)

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