Galenica Group to acquire Relypsa for $1.53 billion

Strengthening its Vifor Pharma business unit ahead of separating the Group into two in 2017

Galenica has agreed to buy US biotechnology firm Relypsa for $1.53 billion

Galenica has agreed to buy US biotechnology firm Relypsa for US$1.53 billion to strengthen its Vifor Pharma business unit ahead of splitting up the Swiss healthcare group into two independent companies in 2017.

Under the terms of the agreement, Galenica will pay $32 per share in cash.

Through the acquisition, Galenica will gain full global rights to the potassium binder Veltassa (patiromer) for oral suspension, the first new treatment for hyperkalaemia (excessive levels of potassium in the blood) approved in the US in more than 50 years, while enhancing its growing position as a global speciality pharmaceutical company.

Vifor Pharma will gain a fully-integrated commercial organisation in the US and significantly strengthen its presence in the US cardio-renal market, where Relypsa has already established a significant specialist sales force.

With the combination of the assets and products of Vifor Pharma, Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (VFMCRP) and Relypsa, Vifor Pharma is positioned to become a major player in the US in its core therapy areas, the firm said.

The combination of Vifor Pharma and Relypsa is an important step towards achieving our goal of building a world-leading speciality pharmaceutical company

Galenica's plans to separate its business into two independent companies, Vifor Pharma and Galenica Santé, will mean that the firm has an extensive specialist product portfolio to include both the intravenous iron deficiency treatment Ferinject and Veltassa, enhanced long-term growth visibility and an experienced global management team.

Founded in 2007, Relypsa is based in Redwood City, California, US and employs more than 400 people. The company is focused on the development of polymeric medicines for patients with conditions that can be addressed in the gastrointestinal tract. Its lead product, Veltassa, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of hyperkalaemia in October 2015. The medicine is currently under regulatory review in Europe.

'The combination of Vifor Pharma and Relypsa is an important step towards achieving our goal of building a world-leading speciality pharmaceutical company focused on nephrology, cardiology and gastroenterology medicines,' said Etienne Jornod, Executive Chairman of Galenica.

Etienne Jornod: 'This acquisition will give Vifor Pharma direct access to the key US market'

'This acquisition will give Vifor Pharma direct access to the key US market, enabling us to maximise the potential of our compelling product portfolio and enhancing our growing attraction as an international partner of choice.'

He added: 'This transaction demonstrates the commitment of the Galenica Board of Directors to achieve the separation of Vifor Pharma and Galenica Santé, with both businesses in the strongest possible position.'

John A. Orwin, President and Chief Executive of Relypsa, added: 'We are very proud of the team that built Relypsa into the company it is today and brought Veltassa to patients in need. Vifor Pharma is a recognised international leader in the cardio-renal space that shares a strong commitment to patients and closely aligned values with Relypsa.

'We are excited to announce this transaction today, which we believe offers significant and immediate value to our shareholders. We look forward to continuing our mission of improving patients’ lives as part of the Vifor Pharma organisation and are confident that our combined expertise, resources and commercial strength will help us build on the significant progress we have made since launching Veltassa in the United States.'

The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2016.

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