French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis has finally struck a deal to acquire U.S. biotech company Genzyme for $20.1 billion plus future payments based on the performance of Genzyme's experimental multiple sclerosis drug, Lemtrada.
The deal is the second-biggest in biotech history and gives France's Sanofi, which has pursued Genzyme for nearly nine months, a foothold in the market to treat rare diseases. It will help Sanofi compensate for declining revenue from drugs that have lost, or are set to lose, patent protection.
Whilst the reasons for the protracted negotiations are not disclosed, it may be inferred that the difference in valuation between the companies has been bridged with the Lemtrada contingent payments.
Lemtrada, a multiple sclerosis drug in Phase III clinical trials.