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Alexion's Buyout of Portola Pharmaceuticals Gets Investors' Blood Flowing

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Shares of Portola Pharmaceuticals traded 130% higher after the company reported that it has received an $18 per share buyout offer from Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

Commercial-stage biotechnology company Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. (PTLA:NASDAQ), which focuses on blood-related disorders, and global biopharmaceuticals firm Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN:NASDAQ) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Portola to be acquired by Alexion.

The acquisition is said to provide a key addition to Alexion's diversified commercial portfolio. The report indicated that the merger agreement has already been unanimously approved each of the company's boards of directors.

The report explained that "Portola's commercialized medicine, Andexxa [coagulation factor Xa (recombinant), inactivated-zhzo], marketed as Ondexxya in Europe, is the first and only approved Factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent, and has demonstrated transformative clinical value by rapidly reversing the anticoagulant effects of Factor Xa inhibitors rivaroxaban and apixaban in severe and uncontrolled bleeding."

Portola's President and CEO Scott Garland commented, "In developing and launching Andexxa, Portola has established a strong foundation for changing the standard of care for patients receiving Factor Xa inhibitors that experience a major, life-threatening bleed. Andexxa rapidly reverses the pharmacologic effect of rivaroxaban and apixaban within two minutes, reducing anti-Factor Xa activity by 92 percent...Given their enhanced resources, global footprint and proven commercial expertise, we look forward to working with Alexion to maximize the value of Andexxa. With their commitment to commercial excellence, together, we will be able to drive stronger utilization of Andexxa, increase penetration and accelerate adoption in the critical care setting."

Ludwig Hantson, Ph.D., CEO of Alexion, remarked, "The acquisition of Portola represents an important next step in our strategy to diversify beyond C5. Andexxa is a strategic fit with our existing portfolio of transformative medicines and is well-aligned with our demonstrated expertise in hematology, neurology and critical care...We believe Andexxa has the potential to become the global standard of care for patients who experience life-threatening bleeds while taking Factor Xa inhibitors apixaban and rivaroxaban. By leveraging Alexion's strong operational and sales infrastructure and deep relationships in hospital channels, we are well positioned to expand the number of patients helped by Andexxa, while also driving value for shareholders."

The firms advised that "under the terms of the merger agreement, a subsidiary of Alexion will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Portola's common stock at a price of $18 per share in cash." Alexion plans to fund the purchase with existing cash on hand and the transaction is expected to close in Q3/20. The purchase is subject to approval by a majority interest of Portola's common stockholders tendering their shares along with ordinary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The company noted that "following successful completion of the tender offer, Alexion will acquire all remaining shares not tendered in the offer at the same price of $18 per share through a merger."

Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Boston, Mass., with offices in 50 countries worldwide. The company states that it has been "the global leader in complement biology and inhibition for more than 20 years and that it has developed and commercializes two approved complement inhibitors to treat patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, as well as the first and only approved complement inhibitor to treat anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder."

Portola is headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif., and is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treating patients with serious blood-related disorders. Specifically, the company is engaged in developing and commercializing novel therapeutics in order to advance the fields of thrombosis and other hematologic conditions. The firm listed that its first two commercialized products are Andexxa and Bevyxxa (betrixaban), and that it is also advancing and developing cerdulatinib, a SYK/JAK inhibitor for use in treatment of hematologic cancers.

Portola Pharmaceuticals started off the day with a market capitalization of around $609.0 million with approximately 78.5 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 23.0%. PTLA shares opened 130% higher today at $17.85 (+$10.09, +130.03%) over yesterday's $7.85 closing price. The stock has traded today between $17.71 and $17.91 per share and is currently trading at $17.83 (+$10.07, +129.77%).

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