Alnylam Soars as Drugmakers Circle Rival Biotechnology Companyby
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose as much as 12 percent, the most in more than a year, after Sanofi, which owns a stake in the company, accelerated its pursuit of another drugmaker as potential rivals circled, suggesting demand for biotechnology acquisitions may be picking up.
Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt proposed eight independent candidates to replace Medivation Inc.’s board after the sitting members spurned the French company’s takeover offer. Meanwhile, people familiar with the Medivation chase said Celgene Corp. and Gilead Sciences Inc. were both considering bids for the company.
Alnylam rose as high as $64.64 on Wednesday in New York trading. The stock had fallen 54 percent in the past 12 months through Tuesday. Sanofi owns a 12 percent stake in the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company.
Another possible factor driving Alnylam’s surge is a JPMorgan Chase & Co. report on a potential competitor, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. The report outlined a possible setback with its experimental drug for familial amyloid polyneuropathy, a rare disease in which protein deposits cause nerve damage. A small number of patients, less than five, have developed significant drops in platelet levels after taking Ionis’s medicine for the condition, according to the report. The company will need to monitor the risk, which hasn’t appeared in Alnylam’s program.
Alnylam’s chief business officer, David-Alexandre Gros, joined last year from his position as head of strategy at Sanofi to help the emerging biotechnology company bring its first products to market. Gros also was involved in Sanofi’s purchase of its stake in Alnylam in 2014.