Boston-based Vertex makes $4.9B acquisition, largest in its history

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to buy a Seattle-based biotech developing a drug to treat kidney disease for $4.9 billion, the biggest acquisition in the Boston company’s history.

The drug giant said on Wednesday after the close of markets that it plans to buy Alpine Immune Sciences Inc. for $65 a share, a 38% premium from its stock close that day. Alpine’s shares were up 21% on the news as of 4:20 p.m.

Alpine has a drug in mid-stage development that the companies said “has shown potential best-in-class efficacy in IgA nephropathy (IgAN).” It describes IgAN as a “serious, progressive, autoimmune disease of the kidney that can lead to end-stage-renal disease.” There are no approved drugs that affect the underlying cause of the disease, which is the most common cause of primary (idiopathic) glomerulonephritis worldwide.

The disease affects about 130,000 people in the U.S. Called povetacicept, the drug is on track to enter Phase 3 clinical development in the second half of 2024.

“Alpine is a compelling strategic fit for Vertex and furthers our ambition of using scientific innovation to create transformative medicines targeting serious diseases with high unmet need in specialty markets,” said Vertex CEO Reshma Kewalramani in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming the talented Alpine team to Vertex and believe that together we can bring povetacicept, a potential best-in-class treatment for IgAN to patients faster. We also look forward to fully exploring povetacicept’s potential as a ‘pipeline-in-a-product’ and adding Alpine’s protein engineering and immunotherapy capabilities to Vertex’s toolbox.”

More on this story from Boston Business Journal

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