GlaxoSmithKline and Reliant Pharmaceuticals Inc. have announced that they had reached an agreement under which Reliant will be acquired by GSK for $1.65 billion (800 million pounds Sterling) in cash.
Reliant, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular therapies, recorded net sales of $341 million in the nine months ending September 30, 2007, an increase of 62% over the comparable time period a year earlier.
GSK expects the transaction will be slightly accretive to earnings in 2008, excluding integration costs, and will create additional value in following years.
Through its strategic in-licensing and development strategy, Reliant has developed a portfolio of specialty medicines combating heart disease, including US rights to Lovaza(TM) (omega-3-acid ethyl esters), a treatment for adult patients with very high levels of triglycerides. Triglycerides are fatty substances in the blood associated with increased risks of coronary artery disease. Lovaza is indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adults with very high (greater than or equal to 500 mg/dL) triglyceride levels.
High lipid levels continue to be a growing health problem in the United States, with up to 5 million people having triglyceride levels classified as very high. Lovaza is the only prescription omega-3 medicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of very high triglycerides, and remains the only omega-3 medicine that, along with diet and exercise, has been clinically proven to provide a 45% reduction in triglycerides in adult patients with very high triglyceride levels.
Launched in late 2005, Lovaza (formerly known as Omacor(R)) achieved rapid uptake among patients and health care professionals. In the nine months ending September 30, 2007, net sales were $206 million, an increase of 115% over the first nine months of 2006.
Lovaza competes in the non-statin dyslipidemia segment of the US cardiovascular market, where it had achieved a 10% market share of total prescriptions as of September 30, 2007. Sales in the non-statin dyslipidemia market totaled approximately $2.2 billion in 2006 and are expected to grow in excess of 20% a year. GSK believes there is significant opportunity for future growth of Lovaza in this market segment.
Reliant licensed the rights to Lovaza in the US and Puerto Rico from Pronova BioPharma ASA (Oslo: PRON), a publicly traded Norwegian company that will continue to supply the product's primary material. Rights to Lovaza in other markets have been licensed by Pronova to several other companies.
Commenting on the acquisition agreement, Chris Viehbacher, President, US Pharmaceuticals, GSK, said, "The addition of Lovaza to the GSK portfolio adds a new driver of sales growth in the US business. It represents a strong strategic fit, complementing Coreg CR(R), a leading treatment for heart failure and hypertension, and adds to our growing profile in the cardiovascular disease area."
"Today is a momentous date for Reliant," said Bradley T. Sheares, CEO of Reliant. "We are very proud of the work that our employees have done to build this company, particularly the energy and perseverance of our sales teams, who have demonstrated their worth in building a formidable Lovaza franchise in less than 24 months. We see great additional potential through this acquisition for Lovaza and the patients who could benefit from it."
The acquisition is subject to approval by the US Federal Trade Commission and is expected to conclude before year-end.
In addition to Lovaza, Reliant Pharmaceuticals, based in Liberty Corner, NJ, currently markets three other in-licensed cardiovascular products - high blood pressure treatments DynaCirc CR(R) (isradipine) and InnoPran XL(R) (propanolol HCl), as well as Rythmol SR(R) (propafenone), which treats abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmia.