Copenhagen – Denmark’s Novo Nordisk, the world’s leading insulin maker, said on Thursday it will buy US-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a developer of RNA interference technology which targets genes that cause disease.
The two firms have already been working together for years to use RNAi therapies to treat liver disease, type-2 diabetes and obesity, among other maladies.
“The acquisition of Dicerna’s ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) platform is a strategic addition to Novo Nordisk’s existing research technology platforms,” the Danish company said in a statement.
Dicerna develops “RNAi-based therapies to selectively silence genes that cause or contribute to disease,” it added.
Potential to expand
Novo Nordisk chief scientific officer Marcus Schindler said that with Dicerna “we have the potential to expand our pipeline and deliver life-changing precision medicines for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease… as well as rare diseases like endocrine disorders and bleeding disorders”.
The deal, which expected to be finalised by the end of 2021, was valued at $3.3 billion.
Novo Nordisk commands a 47% share of the global insulin market, which has been marked by a recent sharp drop in anti-diabetics prices in the US, the world’s largest consumer.
Earlier in the month, the firm reported its net profit rose 18 percent to 12.1 billion kroner ($1.9 billion) in the third quarter, with sales increasing 15 percent to 35.6 billion kroner.
It projected an increase of 12-15% in both underlying, or operating, profit and sales for the full year, excluding exchange rate fluctuations.
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