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Ablynx Stock Climbs On Deal To Be Bought By Sanofi In EUR 3.9 Bln Deal

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Shares of Ablynx NV (ABLYF)were gaining around 20 percent in the morning trading in Belgium after the Nanobodies-focused biopharmaceutical company agreed Monday to be bought by French drug giant Sanofi SA (SNYNF,SNY) in about 3.9 billion euros cash deal.

Sanofi expects the addition of Ablynx's late-stage investigational caplacizumab aTTP treatment to strengthen its position in rare blood disorders, complementing the recently announced agreements to acquire Bioverativ and obtain global rights for fitusiran from Alnylam.

Under the agreement terms, Ablynx shareholders will get 45 euros per share in cash. Sanofi will launch public offers to acquire all shares, including ADSs, warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx.

Sanofi expects the acquisition, including R&D expenses, to be neutral to its business earnings per share in 2018 and 2019.

The deal is subject to customary conditions, including the tender of securities representing at least 75% of the outstanding shares of Ablynx at the end of the initial acceptance period of the Belgian Tender Offer, and the receipt of required regulatory approvals.

The public offers are expected to be launched by the beginning of the second quarter of 2018.

The transaction was unanimously approved by both the Sanofi and Ablynx Boards of Directors, and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter 2018.

Nanobodies are a novel class of proprietary next generation biologicals. Ablynx's Nanobody technology platform supports a deep pipeline of more than 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a wide range of therapeutic areas such as hematology, inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases. Eight Nanobodies have entered clinical development.

Ablynx's most-advanced product in development is caplacizumab (anti-vWF Nanobody), a wholly-owned development program for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura or aTTP.

caplacizumab is already filed in the European Union and expected to be filed in the U.S. during the first half of this year. Caplacizumab, if approved, would be the first-in-class treatment for this acute, life-threatening disease.

Further, Ablynx's ALX-0171, an inhaled anti-RSV Nanobody, currently in Phase 2b, is a potential breakthrough for the symptomatic treatment of RSV infections-for which there is no widely used therapy available-and is very complementary to Sanofi Pasteur RSV associated programs.

Sanofi's Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt said, "With Ablynx, we continue to advance the strategic transformation of our Research and Development, expanding our late-stage pipeline and strengthening our platform for growth in rare blood disorders. … We intend to maintain and support the Ablynx science center in Ghent."

Morgan Stanley and Lazard are acting as financial advisors to Sanofi. J.P. Morgan is acting as financial advisor to Ablynx.

In Belgium, Ablynx shares were trading at 44.52 euros, up 19.94 percent.

In Paris, Sanofi shares were at 72.83 euros, down 0.88 percent.

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