Novo A/S acquires Xellia Pharmaceuticals for $700 million

With this acquisition, Novo says it expands its long-term investment portfolio with another major life-science company in Denmark.

Kelsey Kaustinen
OSLO, Norway—Xellia Pharmaceuticals, which develops andmanufactures anti-infective therapies for multi-drug resistant infections, hasannounced that Novo A/S, the holding company of the Novo Group, has purchasedall of its shares from 3i and other shareholders for roughly $700 million. Oncethe transaction is complete, Xellia will move its headquarters to Copenhagen,Denmark.
 
 
"When the management team bought out Xellia in 2008, we hadambitious plans, which we were able to implement with 3i's support, expertiseand commitment. We have successfully transitioned the business in order tobecome a world leader in the supply of certain anti-infective products,"Carl-Åke Carlsson, CEO of Xellia, said in a press release regarding thetransaction. "Now, as we focus on the future and the further development of thebusiness, including the launch of our novel antibiotics pipeline, we lookforward to working with Novo and benefiting from their expertise in the lifescience sector. Together with Novo we can strengthen the positive developmentthat Xellia has achieved over the past few years, and at the same time theinvestment by Novo will help accelerate our developments further."
 
 
Xellia was spun out from Alpharma Inc. in 2008, andtransitioned from a focus on active pharmaceutical ingredient (API)manufacturing to its current specialization. The company has production sitesin Oslo, Copenhagen, Budapest (Hungary) and Taizhou (China), with approximately850 employees between the four sites.
 
Xellia manufactures all of its products usingfermentation-based biological processes, and offers APIs in bulk or sterilizedfinished dosage forms (FDFs), with its key technologies consisting offill-finish, chemical syntesis (semi-synthetic antibiotics) and microbialstrain development, fermentation and purification. The company has developedits own pipeline of generic anti-infective treatments with a variety ofdelivery system platforms—including topical, proprietary ready-to-use infusiondelivery, infusion bags for injectable delivery and inhalation delivery—whichit will move to commercialize in the near future. The transaction will provideXellia with the ability to focus on its research and development and expand itsglobal manufacturing footprint to grow its FDF business.
 
"Xellia strongly complements our portfolio of significantlife-science companies in which we have major investments. This acquisition iswell aligned with our strategy, and is one of the largest investments made byNovo A/S to date," commented Novo A/S CEO Henrik Gürtler in a statement. "Theproducts that Xellia supplies are critical life-saving treatments for manypatients around the globe, and are manufactured by use of fermentationtechnologies, which is a manufacturing approach similar to that of NovoNordisk, Novozymes and Chr. Hansen. Xellia is a leader in its business area,and a company with a long Scandinavian heritage, which we are proud to bringback into long-term Danish ownership. We look forward to establishing a strongrelationship with Xellia's experienced management team and invest together inthe future success of the company." 
 
The transaction is subject to competition law approvals, andis expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Novo A/S brought onKromann Reumert, Latham & Watkins, PwC, NNE Pharmaplan, NNIT and Moelis& Company as advisors for the deal.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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