Novo Nordisk will acquire Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (Dicerna). Under the terms of the agreement, the company will initiate a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding common shares of Dicerna for US$ 38.25 per share in cash for a total equity value of approximately US$ 3.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Dicerna employs approximately 320 people and is focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of drugs that use RNA interference (RNAi or RNA silencing) to selectively silence genes that cause or contribute to disease. RNAi is a natural mechanism in the cells of eukaryotes that is used to specifically switch off genes.
By silencing disease-causing genes, Dicerna’s GalXC™ platform can combat diseases that are difficult to treat with other modalities such as peptides, proteins, or monoclonal antibodies. Rather than seeking to inhibit a protein, the RNAi approach can prevent the creation of a disease-causing protein, directly impacting disease manifestation. GalXC-Plus™ extends the functionality of the platform from disease-causing genes in the liver to extrahepatic cell and tissue types.
In 2019, Novo Nordisk entered into a research partnership with Dicerna to discover and develop RNAi therapies using Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC™ RNAi platform technology. The collaboration included research into more than 30 liver cell targets with the potential to deliver multiple clinical candidates for disorders such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and rare diseases. Novo Nordisk expects to initiate clinical development with the first target in 2022.