UCB to Acquire Ra Pharma; Shares Double on News

Chris Dios - October 10, 2019

Belgian biotech giant UCB (OTC: UCBJY) agreed to terms to acquire Ra Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RARX) in an all-cash deal worth $2.1 billion USD.

RARX shareholders will be paid $48 per share upon closing. Both company’s boards unanimously approved the deal, but shareholders and regulators need to approve the deal before it can be finalized. UCB cash reserves and term loans from Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and BNP Paribas Fortis (ADR: BNPQY) will fund the transaction. Representatives from both banks will be acting financial advisors on the deal.

Big Pop

ATRUCB purchase price for Ra Pharma values the company at twice its current levels. Shares have already doubled in pre-market trading. Yesterday, RARX closed at $22.70 per share and are currently trading for around $46. UCB will pay shareholders $48 upon closing, so share prices rapidly closed the gap when news of the merger broke.

About Ra Pharma

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ra Pharma is a NASDAQ-listed biotech stock with a market cap of approximately $1 billion. The firm’s most promising treatment is zilucoplan, a once-daily, under-the-skin injection intended to treat Myasthenia Gravis (gMG), a rare autoimmune disease. GMG attacks the nerves and muscles. Ra Pharma is also evaluating Zilucoplan for the treatment of ALS (‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and IMNM.

About UCB

UCB is a large-cap Belgian biotech firm based in Brussels. In the U.S., it trades on OTC Markets under the symbols UCBJY and UCBJF. UCB operates globally and employs 7,500 people across 40 countries. The firm focuses its efforts on developing treatments for diseases of the immune system and central nervous system. UCB’s home exchange is the Euronext Brussels, where it’s listed under the symbol UCB.

Improving Treatment Options

UCB believes combining its assets with Ra Pharma’s will enable it to offer better treatment options for Myasthenia Gravis and other rare diseases. In particular, UCB wanted to add Ra’s zilucoplan therapy to its product pipeline. Currently undergoing phase 3 clinical evaluations, UCB believes zilucoplan will be an excellent complement to its rozanolixizumab therapy. With the new acquisition, UCB expects to be a leading treatment provider for gMG patients.

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Chris Dios is an American writer and entrepreneur based in the Greater NYC area.

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