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Biogen's Acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals


In a significant development for the medical community, Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) has announced its definitive agreement to acquire Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: RETA). This strategic move marks a major step forward in Biogen's sustainable growth strategy, as it adds a highly complementary and innovative product to its portfolio. With the approval of SKYCLARYS® (omaveloxolone) as the only treatment for Friedreich's ataxia (FA) in the United States, this acquisition addresses a critical unmet medical need. This article explores the details of this groundbreaking acquisition and its potential impact on patients with Friedreich's ataxia.

Biogen's Acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals

Biogen's acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals is set to revolutionize the treatment landscape for patients with Friedreich's ataxia. The agreement entails Biogen acquiring Reata for $172.50 per share in cash, resulting in an enterprise value of approximately $7.3 billion[^1^]. With Reata's expertise in developing therapeutics that regulate cellular metabolism and inflammation in serious neurologic diseases, this acquisition aligns perfectly with Biogen's focus on rare disease product development and global commercialization[^1^]. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals[^1^].

The Significance of SKYCLARYS® in Friedreich's Ataxia Treatment

The FDA-approved SKYCLARYS® (omaveloxolone), developed by Reata Pharmaceuticals, is the first and only approved treatment for Friedreich's ataxia in the United States[^1^]. This milestone achievement signifies a breakthrough in addressing the ultra-rare, genetic, life-shortening, and debilitating neuromuscular disorder[^1^]. Friedreich's ataxia is typically caused by a trinucleotide repeat expansion in the frataxin gene, leading to impaired transcription and reduced frataxin expression[^1^]. This, in turn, results in mitochondrial iron overload, poor cellular iron regulation, increased oxidative stress sensitivity, and impaired mitochondrial ATP production[^1^]. Patients with Friedreich's ataxia experience progressive loss of coordination, muscle weakness, and fatigue, often requiring wheelchair assistance in their 20s[^1^].

Advancements in Neurological Disease Treatment

Reata Pharmaceuticals has made remarkable strides in developing innovative products for a range of neurological diseases[^1^]. In addition to SKYCLARYS®, Reata is actively working on a portfolio of therapeutics targeting various neurologic conditions[^1^]. This commitment to addressing high unmet medical needs is aligned with Biogen's mission to serve humanity through science and advance treatment options for patients with rare diseases[^1^].

Biogen's Expertise and Global Reach

Biogen's extensive expertise in rare disease product development and global commercialization positions the company as an ideal partner to maximize the potential of SKYCLARYS®[^1^]. With a proven track record in successfully bringing rare disease treatments to market, such as SPINRAZA and QALSODY, Biogen has the necessary foundation to accelerate the delivery of SKYCLARYS® to patients worldwide[^1^]. The company's deep understanding of the rare disease patient journey and its existing commercial infrastructure make it well-suited to establish SKYCLARYS® as the standard of care for Friedreich's ataxia[^1^].

Financial Implications and Future Prospects

The acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals is expected to be slightly dilutive to Biogen's Non-GAAP diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2023, neutral in 2024, and significantly accretive beginning in 2025[^1^]. Biogen plans to finance the acquisition with cash on hand, supplemented by the issuance of term debt[^1^]. The transaction's financial impact and associated costs will be disclosed in Biogen's updated Full Year 2023 Financial Guidance, which will be released alongside its third-quarter 2023 earnings[^1^]. With this acquisition, Biogen aims to enhance its near-term growth trajectory and strengthen its global portfolio of treatments for neuromuscular and rare diseases[^1^].

Reata Pharmaceuticals' Commitment to Innovation

Reata Pharmaceuticals, as a global biopharmaceutical company, has a steadfast commitment to developing and commercializing novel therapeutics for patients with serious or life-threatening diseases[^1^]. By focusing on molecular pathways involved in the regulation of cellular metabolism and inflammation, Reata aims to address critical unmet needs in various medical conditions[^1^]. Apart from SKYCLARYS®, Reata is actively developing cemdomespib, an investigational drug targeting diabetic neuropathic pain[^1^].

About Biogen: Pioneering Breakthrough Therapies

Biogen, founded in 1978, has emerged as a leading global biotechnology company, known for its pioneering breakthrough innovations in various therapeutic areas[^1^]. The company has developed a robust portfolio of medicines for multiple sclerosis, the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and co-developed treatments for Alzheimer's disease[^1^]. Biogen's pipeline encompasses potential novel therapies in neurology, neuropsychiatry, specialized immunology, and rare diseases, reflecting its commitment to serving humanity through science[^1^].

Conclusion: Transforming the Care Landscape for Friedreich's Ataxia

The acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals by Biogen represents a transformative step forward in the treatment of Friedreich's ataxia, a debilitating and life-shortening neuromuscular disorder[^1^]. With the approval of SKYCLARYS® as the first and only treatment for Friedreich's ataxia in the United States, Biogen's acquisition signals a new era of hope for patients suffering from this rare disease[^1^]. By leveraging its expertise in rare disease product development and global commercialization, Biogen aims to make SKYCLARYS® accessible to patients worldwide, establishing it as the standard of care for Friedreich's ataxia[^1^]. This acquisition not only strengthens Biogen's portfolio but also reinforces its commitment to advancing innovative therapies and improving the lives of individuals affected by rare diseases[^1^].


  1. Lynch DR, et al., Safety and Efficacy of Omaveloxolone in Friedreich Ataxia (MOXIe Study). Ann Neurol. 2021 Feb;89(2):212-225. doi: 10.1002/ana.25934

  2. Synapse: Global Drug Intelligence Database

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