Emergent BioSolutions to acquire PaxVax and two travel vaccines in $270M deal

After getting smallpox vaccine ACAM2000 from Sanofi and an anthrax treatment called raxibacumab from GlaxoSmithKline, Emergent BioSolutions is buying again, this time an entire company: PaxVax.

 In an all-cash deal worth $270 million, Maryland-based Emergent, a vaccine company that has focused on   biodefense, will buy California-headquartered specialty vaccine maker PaxVax, which also has close ties with the   government.

Emergent’s chief operating officer Bob Kramer said the deal “is in line with our M&A principles adopted in late 2012, namely to acquire revenue-generating assets which will be accretive in 12 months.”

For starters, PaxVax has two FDA-approved products that could immediately deliver about $70 million to $90 million to Emergent’s top line in 2019, according to Emergent’s estimate. They are typhoid fever vaccine Vivotif and cholera vaccine Vaxchora, both oral vaccines meant to protect travelers visiting endemic regions.

Vivotif, which PaxVax acquired in 2014, is one of two typhoid vaccines available in the U.S. The other is Sanofi’s one-dose injection Typhim Vi, which is priced higher than Vivotif, Kramer said on a conference call Thursday. Vaxchora has a clearer competitive edge as the only approved cholera vaccine in the U.S., and it comes in one dose, compared to two doses required of other shots approved outside of the U.S. Kramer said Vaxchora is still in launch mode after receiving a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-2017.

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The acquisition also gives Emergent a solid development pipeline, which addresses both commercial and government needs. Last year, PaxVax licensed NIH’s virus-like particle vaccine technology for its chikungunya vaccine candidate currently in phase 2. PaxVax is also working with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to assess an alum adjuvant in the vaccine formulation. Under another multiyear funding contract with the Department of Defense, PaxVax is developing an adenovirus 4/7 vaccine specifically for military personnel.

Besides the products, about 250 employees will join Emergent, which “will expand its sales capabilities and supplement its core competencies in government contracting with the addition of a global commercial salesforce and marketing and distribution partners focused on the travel vaccines market,” it said in a release.

In addition, the transaction will strengthen its manufacturing capabilities with a biologics plant in Europe, which Emergent expects will help grow its CDMO business.

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Emergent’s ambition is to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2020. To achieve that, it has made several purchases, including a deal potentially worth $125 million for Sanofi’s smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, along with U.S. stockpile contracts, as well as buying an anthrax antibody from GSK for $96 million.

Currently, Emergent’s business mainly comes from government contracts. Its anthrax vaccine BioTrax is under a procurement contract with the CDC and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and its follow-on shot NuThrax also has a BARDA contract. For the second quarter, Emergent enjoyed a revenue increase of 118% to $220 million.

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