Novo Nordisk in talks to buy device maker Biocorp

Biocorp's Mallya injector device

Danish pharma group Novo Nordisk has revealed it is in exclusive negotiations that could result in the acquisition of a controlling stake in Biocorp, a French company that makes medical devices, including ‘smart’ injectors and inhalers.

Novo Nordisk is in talks with Bio Jag – Biocorp’s main shareholder – to buy its entire stake in the company at a price of €35 per share, valuing it at around €155 million ($165 million). Biocorp’s board has already backed the deal.

The two companies have been collaborating since 2021 on a Bluetooth add-on device for pen injectors, called Mallya, that collects data on the dose and timing of injections and transmits it in real time to companion software, allowing patients and doctors to monitor treatment.

The alliance has focused on the addition of Mallya to Novo Nordisk’s FlexTouch pen injector for insulin delivery, with a third partner – Healthy2Sync – brought on board earlier this year to contribute an app to handle the data.

There has been a surge in development of connected drug delivery devices of late, particularly in diabetes, where close control of insulin dosing is important to manage blood glucose levels and prevent complications.

Novo Nordisk and the other major insulin producers – Sanofi and Eli Lilly – have all been adding connectivity to their injection devices, as well as working towards complete systems that layer in glucose monitoring as well.

The Biocorp partnership has been expanded to include development of the Mallya device for other therapy areas beyond diabetes, said Novo Nordisk in a statement this morning.

If completed, the deal will give Novo Nordisk around 45% of Biocorp’s share capital, and almost two thirds of the company’s voting rights. The Danish drugmaker said Biocorp would continue to operate as a standalone company in order to preserve its “agility and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Along with Mallya, Biocorp has developed a connected inhaler device called Inspair that tracks and records breath actuations, an NFC-enabled add-on for prefilled syringes called Injay, and Datapen, a smart pen injector compatible with standard cartridges and adaptable to dual chamber cartridges.

“Novo Nordisk has strong and established core capabilities within developing, scaling, and large-scale manufacturing of innovative injection devices for insulin and other medicines, and we are looking to increase agility to enable faster innovation and development of novel connected devices,” said Marianne Ølholm, the company’s head of devices and delivery solutions.

“We have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Biocorp over the past couple of years, and we hope to be able to welcome the company and its highly skilled workers into Novo Nordisk to complement our in-house efforts within connected delivery,” she added.

Novo Nordisk is hoping to close the acquisition of Bio Jag’s stake sometime in the third quarter of this year, which will be followed by a tender offer for all remaining shares Biocorp.