Novo Nordisk offers €154M in negotiations to acquire diabetes devicemaker Biocorp

Barely two years into its partnership with Biocorp, the French maker of “smart” connected medical devices, Novo Nordisk is upping the ante.

The Big Pharma announced Monday that it has begun exclusive negotiations with Biocorp’s largest shareholder, Bio Jag, to acquire its controlling stake in the devicemaker, representing about 45% of Biocorp’s share capital and just over 62% of its voting power. Additionally, according to Novo, some minority shareholders have also agreed to hand over their ownership stakes, too, adding another 19% in share capital and 13% in theoretical voting rights to the mix.

Novo has proposed a price of 35 euros per Biocorp share, which would add up to a total purchase price of about 154 million euros, or $164.5 million. According to Novo, that’s a premium of nearly 20% over Biocorp’s closing price last week, and more than 45% over its average trading price throughout the last three months.

If the buyout talks are successful, the drugmaker is expecting to close out the acquisition toward the end of the third quarter of this year.

Novo said in Monday’s announcement that if the deal goes through, it plans to continue investing in Biocorp’s device development.

“Novo Nordisk has strong and established core capabilities within developing, scaling and large-scale manufacturing of innovative injection devices for insulin and other medicines, and we are looking to increase agility to enable faster innovation and development of novel connected devices,” said Marianne Ølholm, senior VP of devices and delivery solutions at Novo.

“We have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Biocorp over the past couple of years, and we hope to be able to welcome the company and its highly skilled workers into Novo Nordisk to complement our in-house efforts within connected delivery solutions and accelerate our ambitions within devices and delivery solutions,” Ølholm continued.

That collaboration began in 2021, when the duo teamed up to integrate Biocorp’s Mallya technology with Novo’s prefilled insulin pens. The Mallya devices are reusable add-on components designed to attach to most insulin pen injectors, where they collect information about the dosage and timing of each injection and send that information to a connected software platform via Bluetooth.

Novo and Biocorp have since expanded the partnership to not only make the Mallya pen available to more insulin pen users but also to develop new versions of the technology that could be used in other therapeutic areas, beyond diabetes.

Elsewhere, the Mallya devices have already caught the eyes of several of Novo’s insulin-making peers. Among the earliest of Biocorp’s Big Pharma collaborations was its tie-up with Sanofi, which was inked at the end of 2019 and gave the French drugmaker non-exclusive global distribution rights for Mallya. Biocorp also agreed to begin developing a version of the technology that would be specifically designed to work with Sanofi’s insulin pens.

Meanwhile, just a few months later, Roche signed on in mid-2020 to begin distributing Biocorp’s device to French pharmacies and, eventually, to fold the Mallya system into its own diabetes device offerings.