Alexion, BioMarin, Sanofi, Shire May Be Eyeing Dyax Corp. and Its Rare Genetic Disorder Drug

Published: Jun 12, 2015

Alexion, BioMarin, Sanofi, Shire May Be Eyeing Dyax Corp. and Its Rare Genetic Disorder Drug
June 11, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor

Scrappy Burlington, Mass.-based biotech Dyax Corp. is attracting the notice of much larger suitors because one of its orphan drug candidates now represents a threat to much larger Irish company Shire, who previously had that only drug approved to treat a rare genetic disorder.

Michael Yee, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said that a host of companies will likely be interested in acquiring $3.6 billion Dyax, including Shire , Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. , Sanofi and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. .

“Any of the key players in orphan drugs could be interested,” Yee told Bloomberg this week, saying he’d expect any bid to weigh in at around $39 per share.

Shire’s drug Cinryze is the only approved drugs for the treatment of hereditary angioedema , or HAE, in which tissues swell rapidly and uncontrollably, sometimes blocking the flow of oxygen to the lungs or limbs of a patient.

It costs around $630,000 annually for patients, a price tag that raked in $503 million in 2015, even though the market for HAE is relatively tiny.

But when compared to Dyax’s DX-2930, Cinryze has only a 50 percent reduction in attacks, versus DX-2930’s 88 percent, a difference that has both analysts and Wall Street taking notice.

“DX-2930 could well impact Shire’s business several years down the road,” David Steinberg, an analyst at Jefferies, wrote in a note to investors.

Dyax has a game-changer in DX-2930,” he said. “A lot of orphan companies would probably like to own this asset.”

For its part, Shire has said it is keeping a close eye on the market, saying in an emailed statement to reporters last week that it “has a full program of current and potential programs in HAE, and we will continue to monitor the HAE landscape and act appropriately.”

Dyax is making its own moves to advance the drug, telling investors earlier this year that it is on track to seek a Breakthrough Therapy Designation for DX-2930 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sometime in the second or third quarter of 2015.

When Will Pfizer's Breakup Happen?
Speculation that the revamping of Pfizer Inc. ’s internal business structure could happen as soon as this year has biotech wondering just when this Big Pharma company could see changes.

Last week an analyst with J.P. Morgan said he thinks there will be a much faster timeline than most of Wall Street had predicted for Pfizer’s stated mission to refocus its efforts on new medicines.

Pfizer initially announced in 2012 that it would be shedding units that were non-essential to that goal. It then promptly sold its nutrition silo to Nestle for $11.85 billion, which was rapidly accompanied by a public spin-off of its animal health business for $2.2 billion.

“While a Pfizer break-up would likely be a 2017 event, we see potential catalysts in 2015-2016," said Chris Schott, an analyst at J.P. Morgan. "Three years of audited financial statements (2014-2016) are required before any part of Pfizer can be spun off, and we also see 2017 as an attractive time for action as investors see Pfizer’s innovative pipeline clearly contributing to growth and the established business having transitioned to a more stable profile."

BioSpace wants to know what you think: Will Pfizer be a changed company by the end of 2015?

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