Last week the company announced it was to acquire United States biotech group Bioverativ for $11.6bn.
This month has seen a spike in multibillion-dollar deals in biotech, with USA -based Celgene paying $9 billion for cancer specialist Juno Therapeutics, and several experts predicting a bumper year for M&A. The M&A activity is being fueled by large drugmakers seeking new medicines being developed by smaller rivals to help invigorate sluggish growth.
Both Pfizer and Merck KGaA are now looking to divest consumer health businesses.
"The addition of caplacizumab (Ablynx's most advanced product) to Sanofi's platform strengthens its position in rare blood disorders, complementing the recently announced agreements to acquire Bioverativ and obtain global rights for fitusiran from Alnylam", Sanofi's statement read.
Through this acquisition, the French group wants to "accelerate the development (...) of Ablynx's research programs", specialized in the discovery and development of nanobodies, therapeutic proteins derived from antibody fragments.
He also said that Sanofi will continue to maintain and support Ablynx' R&D facility in Ghent, which will now operate alongside the French firm's Belgian biologics manufacturing unit in Geel. SNY stock was down 1.3% at 7:05 ET today in pre-market trading. after gaining 2.6% last week.
Berenberg analysts said Ablynx was a good fit but they estimated the deal would generate no more than a 4 percent return on invested capital, assuming caplacizumab sales of around 400 million euros by 2023.
This latest purchase of Ablynx is seen as a good strategic fit for Sanofi, particularly in the wake of its Biovertiv acquisition.
The offers are expected to be launched by the beginning of the second quarter, when the deal is expected to close-subject to customary conditions that include the tender of securities representing at least 75% of Ablynx' outstanding shares at the end of the initial acceptance period of the Belgian Tender Offer, as well as required regulatory approvals. Johnson & Johnson agreed to take over Actelion for $30 billion previous year.
The deal is part of Sanofi's strategy to focus on technologies that target an array of diseases using nanobody technologies.