Roche Holding made its second main gene therapy agreement in a year on Monday, spending $1.15 billion to acquire the rights to Sarepta Therapeutics’s investigational drug to treat Duchenne muscular Dystrophy (DMD) outside the U.S.
The Swiss drug company concluded a $4.3 billion offer to acquire Sparks Therapeutics this month, marking the growing appetite amongst large drug companies for gene therapies.
Roche will make an advance payment of $750 million in cash and take a $400 million stake in Sarepta, costing $158.59 per share, a premium of about 26% to the U.S. drugmaker’s closing value on Friday.
Shares of Sarepta, which already has non-gene therapies for DMD out there, were up 9% at $138 before the bell.
Gene therapies, one of the hottest sectors of drug analysis, aim to fix certain ailments by replacing the missing or mutated model of a gene found in a patient’s cells with good copies.
Earlier this month, Japan’s Astellas Pharma stated it was buying gene remedy developer Audentes Therapeutics for about $3 billion – over double the U.S. firm’s market value at the time.
DMD is a rare degenerative neuromuscular dysfunction, which impacts about one in 3,500-5,000 male births across the globe, causes severe progressive muscle loss and premature death.
Sarepta already has a significant presence in the DMD sector. Its Exondys 51, a non-gene remedy that was authorized in 2016, brought in sales of $99 million within the newest quarter.