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French Pharma Giant Buys Two More US Biotech Companies

Sept. 8, 2021
Sanofi will acquire Kadmon Holdings for $1.9 billion about a month after finishing its $3.2 billion purchase of Translate Bio.

A Parisian pharmaceutical giant is snapping up U.S. biotech companies for billions. Sanofi S.A. announced September 8 it had landed an agreement to purchase Kadmon Holdings, Inc., for about $1.9 billion. The Kadmon deal comes on the heels of Sanofi’s August acquisition of another U.S. pharmaceutical company, Translate Bio, for $3.2 billion.

Executive VP for General Medicines at Sanofi, Olivier Charmiel, said the Kadmon purchase was part of Sanofi’s move to simplify its general medicines business. The FDA recently approved a drug developed by Kadmon called Rezurock to treat a condition related to complications from bone marrow and stem cell transplant complications. The drug will add to Sanofi’s “well-established” transplant-related offerings, Charmiel said.

Sanofi’s current transplant-related offerings include Thymoglobulin, an immune suppressant, and Mozobil, a drug used for working with stem cells.

“We are excited that Sanofi has acknowledged the value of Rezurock and the deep potential of our pipeline,” said Harlan Waksal, CEO of Kadmon. Rezurock is also currently in Phase 2 trials as a possible treatment for a rare condition that afflicts the skin and internal organs called diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, and Kadmon says it is also currently developing drug candidates for treating immune diseases and cancer.

Waksal also expressed optimism that Sanofi’s global reach would help make Rezurock a globally accessible drug.

Sanofi revealed its other recent purchase roughly a month ago, announcing August 3 it would purchase Lexington, Massachusetts-based Translate Bio for $3.2 billion. Translate Bio, which employs more than 170 people according to a corporate fact sheet, conducts research into mRNA therapies, including a vaccine for COVID-19 and treatments for cystic fibrosis and hypertension.

In a statement announcing the purchase, Translate Bio CEO Ronald Renaud said the two companies “have a shared commitment to innovation in the mRNA space.”

Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, said the acquisition would allow the pair to “accelerate our existing partnered programs already under development.”

Sanofi and Translate Bio first started working together in 2018, the same year Translate Bio was founded, in order to research mRNA vaccines for several pathogens. That partnership turned its attention towards developing a COVID vaccine in March 2020, and in June that year the companies began to look at developing broader mRNA vaccines for pathogens unrelated to influenza.

The Paris, France-based pharmaceutical has been on a buying spree in recent years. In addition to Kadmon and Translate Bio, in the past two years Sanofi has purchased or acquired Kiadis Pharma, Tidal Therapeutics, Kymab, Principia Biopharma and Synthrox, Inc. 

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-secard/

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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