Mallinckrodt snaps up cell therapy specialist Therakos for $1.3bn


Ireland's Mallinckrodt has agreed a $1.3 billion deal to acquire Therakos, gaining rights to a technology that underpins cell-based immunotherapies.

Therakos' platform is based on extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP), a technique which involves taking white blood cells out of patients, activating them with ultraviolet light and reinfusing them to treat diseases. ECP has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of advanced cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) since 1988.

ECP immunotherapy is also used to treat some other forms of cancer, transplant patients and Crohn's disease and is used in more than 350 hospitals in 25 countries around the world, with widespread reimbursement.

Dublin-based Mallinckrodt said the acquisition diversified and expanded its position in the hospital sector, where it already sells products for surgical pain management and intensive therapy units.

The company said it expects to be able to boost sales of Therakos' platform from around $190 million this year to more than $500 million, in part by expanding its use in the US beyond its current approval for CTCL. At the moment around 3,000 patients a year are being treated with ECP, but upwards of 23,000 are eligible for treatment worldwide.

Under the terms of the deal, Mallinckrodt is buying Therakos for around $1.325 billion, financed with cash and debt, with the transaction expected to close before the end of the year. It is buying Therakos from private equity firm Gores Group, which bought the business from Johnson & Johnson in 2012.

The Therakos acquisition "continues Mallinckrodt's development of a diversified, durable, high-value portfolio," said the Irish company's chief executive Mark Trudeau.

Mallinckrodt has been on something of an acquisition spree after spinning out from former parent Covidien in 2013, most recently agreeing a $2.3 billion deal to acquire respiratory care specialist Ikaria and gain rights to Inomax, a therapy for hypoxic respiratory failure in infants.

Last year, it also bought Questcor for $5.9 billion – gaining rights to big-selling immune system drug Acthar (repository corticotropin injection) – and paid $1.3 billion for Cadence to add injectable painkiller Ofirmev (acetaminophen).

"One of Mallinckrodt's core strengths is our unique ability to manage complexity, delivering additional value to diverse products and environments," said Trudeau.

"With this expansion into immunotherapy we add to our footprint of nuclear medicine, pain management, and respiratory neonatal critical care, broadening our touch points in hospitals and further expanding our portfolio with innovative therapies."

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Linda Banks

11 August, 2015