Novo Nordisk to acquire Dicerna Pharmaceuticals for $3.3 billion

After two years of collaborating on the RNAi platform, the therapy is set to reach clinical development.

The Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is set to buy the Massachusetts based biopharmaceutical Dicerna for $3.3 billion. Novo Nordisk will pay $38.25 for each share, which is an 80% premium to the stock price at closing on 17 November. The biopharmaceutical company uses ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) to develop therapies. These therapies silence genes that would otherwise result in the development of diseases, with the targets being hepatic (GalXC) and extrahepatic (GalXC-Plus) cells and tissues. In 2019, Novo Nordisk and Dicerna initiated a collaboration into the development of RNAi therapies with the use of the GalXC platform. The pharmaceutical giant paid $175 million upfront, and a further $50 million equity investment to start the partnership and their therapy is now ready to move to clinical development in 2022.

Novo Nordisk stated that the acquisition is set to be a strategic addition to the already existing platforms, the chief scientist officer at Novo Nordisk, Marcus Schindler added that with Dicerna “we have the potential to expand our pipeline and deliver life-changing precision medicines for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease...” The acquisition has been approved by both Novo Nordisk and Dicerna board of directors, with the transaction expected to close by the end of 2021. Numerous pharmaceuticals including Takeda and Novartis have struck deals to get into the RNAi market, though Dicerna disclosed that should the company decide to accept a higher offer from another company, they would be liable to pay a $100 million termination fee to Novo Nordisk.