Still wheeling and dealing, Ipsen acquires Epizyme and lymphoma drug Tazverik for $247M

After a busy year of M&A activity, Ipsen is still wheeling and dealing.

On Monday, the French biopharma said it had an agreement in place to acquire oncology specialist Epizyme for $247 million.

The 15-year-old Massachusetts-based commercial biopharma reported revenue of $37.4 million in 2021, with $30.9 million coming from lymphoma drug Tazverik.

Ipsen’s all-cash offer was for $1.45 per share plus a contingent value right of $1 per share if Tazverik achieves specified sales and regulatory targets. Epizyme’s board of directors voted unanimously to accept the deal, and the company’s largest stockholder Royalty Pharma PLC, with 21% ownership, has signed on. Ipsen said it expects the merger to be complete during the third quarter of this year.

The deal comes four months after Ipsen revealed a plan to separate its consumer health business. French firm Mayoly Spindler will snap up the business for approximately 350 million euros ($398 million) in a deal also expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

The primary focus of the Epizyme deal, according to Ipsen, was Tazverik, a first-in-class, chemotherapy free EZH2a inhibitor which was approved in 2020 under the FDA’s accelerated program. It is approved for third-line use in relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma. It also is approved for patients with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma not eligible for complete resection.

The drug is currently in a phase 3 confirmatory study in combination with Roche’s Rituxan and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid in patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy. The study is due for a 2026 readout.

“We are compelled by the potential of its efficacy and tolerability profile, especially for elderly and/or frail patients,” Ipsen CEO David Loew said in a release.

With Epizyme, Ipsen also gets another first-in-class drug, the oral SETD2 inhibitor candidate EZM0414, which has received FDA fast-track status to treat relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The acquisition will help Ispen compensate for an anticipated decline (PDF) in sales of aging tumor drug Somatuline, which faces generic competition this year. It was Ipsen’s top seller last year, accounting for 1.2 billion euros ($1.27 billion). Ipsen’s revenue reached 2.87 billion euros ($3.03 billion) in 2021.

Ipsen has been on a deal spree since last summer when it signed agreements with Exicure worth up to $1 billion, another with BAKX Therapeutics for $14.5 million and yet another with IRLAB for up to $363 million. Ipsen also partnered with Genfit on a cancer drug in a deal revealed last December.