Novo Nordisk seeks to buy US biotechnology company Global Blood Therapeutics

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S has approached US biotechnology company Global Blood Therapeutics Inc, to discuss a potential acquisition, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Global Blood, which has a market cap of $1.4 billion, is working with financial advisers to review its options, the report said, and added no final decision has been made and the company may even abandon the idea of a deal.

Global Blood is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercialises novel therapeutics to treat grievous blood-based disorders with significant unmet need.

The San Francisco-based company is developing its lead product candidate, GBT440, as an oral, once-daily therapy for sickle cell disease and is currently evaluating GBT440 in a pivotal Phase 3 study.

Global Blood is also investigating GBT440 for the treatment of hypoxemic pulmonary disorders in an ongoing Phase 2a study in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

There are around 160,000 people suffering from sickle cell disease in the US and Europe, and although treatments cost around $200,000 per year in the US, the treatments do not cure the disease.

Founded in 1923, Novo Nordisk's key products include diabetes care medications and devices. It is also involved with haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.

The company makes several drugs under various brand names, including Levemir, NovoLog, Novolin R, NovoSeven, NovoEight and Victoza.

Novo Nordisk has production facilities in eight countries, employs around 42,000 people in 77 countries, and markets its products in more than 165 countries.

Novo Nordisk, which focuses primarily on selling products that treat diabetes, is currently under pressure to find new growth opportunities since its NovoSeven hemophilia drug could face competition with Swiss drug giant Roche's new product ACE910.

Global Blood's lead drug candidate, GBT440 would complement Novo Nordisk's hemophilia drugs, according to analysts.