Shire sells oncology franchise to Servier for $2.4bn

Sale proceeds are expected to enable pharma giant to further reduce its leverage

Shire’s offices stand at the Citywest Business Campus in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley / BLOOMBERG

Shire’s offices stand at the Citywest Business Campus in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley / BLOOMBERG


Dublin-based drugs giant Shire has completed the sale of its oncology franchise to international pharmaceutical company Servier for $2.4 billion.

The franchise includes the global rights to Oncaspar, which is given to patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as the ex-US and ex-Taiwan rights to the drug Onivyde, which is a medication used to treat colon cancer, and small cell lung cancer.

Shire said in a statement on Friday that the deal also includes some oncology pipeline assets.

David Lee, who was previously the head of Shire’s global genetic diseases and oncology franchises, will take up a role with Servier as chief executive of its new US commercial subsidiary, Servier Pharmaceuticals.

“The closing of this transaction demonstrates the value embedded in our portfolio and our continued focus on executing against our strategic priorities,” said Shire chief executive Flemming Ornskov.

“I am confident that Servier will continue to bring these important therapies to patients worldwide. I would like to thank David Lee and all those transferring to Servier for their ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of the oncology community, and we wish them continued success.”

The oncology sale proceeds are expected to enable Shire to further reduce its leverage.

The company previously announced a leverage target of net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of below a multiple of two and a half by the end of 2018.

Shire will update its financial guidance, including the impact of the oncology sale, as part of its third quarter earnings announcement later this year.

The drugs giant first announced its plans to sell its oncology franchise to Servier on April 16th.

The transaction constitutes a “class 2 transaction” for the purposes of the UK listing rules and, as such, Shire shareholder approval was not required. The transaction was approved by the board of directors.