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Gene therapy company UniQure explores options including sales



(Bloomberg) – UniQure NV is reviewing options, including a potential sale in the interest of pharmaceutical companies seeking to expand in gene therapy. In early trading, the stocks jumped.

The biotechnology company is working with consultants to weigh options such as sales or partnerships, respondents said, who did not want to be identified because the information is private. UniQure shares have risen more than 151% in New York this year, equating to a market value of approximately $ 2.7 billion. The stock even gained 10% in trading before the opening of US markets.

Large pharmaceutical companies pursue gene therapy companies that promise to treat rare, debilitating diseases by correcting DNA errors. While the field has not yet reached a blockbuster, the promise of dramatic remedies associated with a multi-million dollar price has triggered a barrage of business activity. Cantor Fitzgerald LP said in February that UniQure could be "the next one" and attract the interest of large cap companies such as Novo Nordisk A / S, Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi.

A contract with UniQure would bring access to a pipeline of experimental treatments for hemophilia, Huntington's disease and other disorders. Based in the Netherlands, the company employs around 200 people between Amsterdam and Lexington, Massachusetts.

Read More: UniQure Rebuilds Gene Therapy Following $ 1 Million Drug Flop

UniQure shares rose one month after the cancellation of plans to participate in the annual Goldman Sachs Group Inc. health conference Company said it had been withdrawn because of a conflict with the timing of Chief Executive Officer Matt Kapusta.

No final decisions have been made and there is no certainty that the considerations will lead to a transaction. A representative of UniQure declined to comment.

Biogen Inc. agreed to purchase Nightstar Therapeutics Plc earlier this year, and Pfizer acquired a stake in Vivet Therapeutics. Roche Holding AG agreed in February to acquire Spark Therapeutics Inc. for $ 4.8 billion after Novartis AG acquired AveXis Inc. worth $ 8.7 billion last year.

UniQure developed Glybera, the first gene therapy treatment approved in Europe for sale that had disappointing sales and said the company would not renew its marketing authorization in 2017. Since then, the company has focused on hemophilia treatments. Earlier this month, the US Federal Trade Commission asked Roche and Spark for further information as part of their audit of their pending business. The last FTC request came after the agency announced in April that it needed more time to review the transaction.

(Early trade updates in the second paragraph.)

– With support from James Paton and Ruth David. [19659013] Contacting reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net, Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net, Ed Hammond in New York at ehammond12@bloomberg.net

Contacting Editors Responsible for this story: Dinesh Nair at dnair5@bloomberg.net, Ben Scent, Amy Thomson

More articles of this nature can be found at bloomberg.com

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