After Horizon loss, Sanofi missed out in Reata bidding war with Biogen: Bloomberg

The tale of Biogen’s Reata courtship is being laid bare.

Earlier this week, a securities filing showed Biogen beat out another Big Pharma rival in its quest to obtain Texas-based rare disease outfit Reata. Now, that company’s identity has been revealed as Sanofi, Bloomberg reports, citing people close to the matter.

The Reata auction pitted Biogen’s new CEO Christopher Viehbacher against the French pharma he ran as CEO for six years through 2014, the publication points out. While at Sanofi, Viehbacher oversaw the company’s $20 billion acquisition of Genzyme.

Biogen ultimately shelled out $7.3 billion for Reata—and got its hands on the company’s new Friedreich’s ataxia drug Skyclarys—in late July. But a filing from Reata showed that another company, only identified as "Party A" kicked off the proceedings.

The bidding saga closely resembles Sanofi’s lost quest for Horizon. That battle saw Amgen, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and another unnamed company duke it out over Horizon back in 2022. As in the Reata bid, Sanofi kicked off the bidding but was ultimately outbid. 

Sanofi’s lost bid raised questions about the company’s dealmaking appetite, though the company declined to comment on its strategy last December.

The French pharma has been able to land some M&A scores, however. In March, the French pharma handed over $2.9 billion to acquire diabetes partner Provention Bio.

The deal gave Sanofi access to Provention’s approved immunotherapy Tzield, greenlighted in November, which is designed to stall the progression of type 1 diabetes.

Sanofi also bought Kadmon in 2021 and Principia in 2020.

On the sales side of biopharma dealmaking, Sanofi recently auctioned off a clutch of 16 consumer health brands in Europe to Germany’s Stada Arzneimittel.

And last summer, Sanofi sold 17 established meds to central nervous system (CNS) specialist Neuraxpharm for an undisclosed sum.