JPM23: Chiesi gets jump-start on JPM buzz with $1.48B Amryt buyout

During a day of travel for many in biopharma ahead of this year's annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Italy’s Chiesi Farmaceutici kicked off the week with a buyout.

Sunday afternoon, Chiesi said it agreed to pay up to $1.48 billion to buy Amryt and its portfolio of rare disease medicines.  

Under the deal, Chiesi will pay $1.25 billion upfront for Amryt plus up to $225 million more if Amryt's rare skin disease drug Filsuvez can gain an FDA approval and wins a priority review voucher as a result of that nod.

The buyout represents a 107% premium to Amryt's closing price on Friday, Chiesi said. Since its founding in 2015, Dublin-based Amryt has struck three acquisitions of its own and built itself into a global drugmaker with several hundred employees. 

The company has a U.S. headquarters in Boston and operates subsidiaries around the globe, including in Canada, South America, Europe and Asia, according to a recent corporate overview

With the purchase, Chiesi will take over sales of several approved Amryt drugs, including Juxtapid for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, Myalept in congenital or acquired generalized lipodystrophy and Mycapssa, which is approved for certain patients with acromegaly. 

But Chiesi also has its eyes on Amryt's rare skin disease drug Filsuvez, which last year won an approval in Europe to treat epidermolysis bullosa. The drug suffered an FDA rejection in early 2022.

On the R&D front, Amryt is testing several of its approved drugs in new uses, and it also has a preclinical skin disease candidate called AP103. 

As for Chiesi, the company operates in 30 countries and employs more than 6,000 people. Its research and development operations runs out of Parma, Italy, with additional hubs in the U.S., France, the U.K., China, Canada and Sweden.

The buyout marks the first M&A deal surrounding this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. During past years, companies have shared news of major dealmaking successes around the start of the conference. For instance, Bristol Myers Squibb agreed to purchase Celgene in the early days of 2019, and Eli Lilly scooped up Loxo Oncology on the first day of the JPM conference that same year. Fierce Pharma will be tracking the conference closely over the next several days, so check back regularly for the latest headlines.