Public Health

Akebia Therapeutics and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals merge, creating a $1bn company

Akebia Therapeutics, Inc and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals have announced that the companies are set to merge, creating a fully integrated biopharmaceutical giant in an all-stock merger.

Focused on chronic kidney disease (CKD), with an implied pro forma equity value of approximately $1.3bn, the combined company will be named Akebia Therapeutics, Inc.

Under the terms of the agreement, Keryx shareholders will receive 0.37433 common shares of Akebia for each share of Keryx they own. The exchange results in implied equity ownership in the combined company of 49.4% for Akebia shareholders and 50.6% for Keryx shareholders on a fully-diluted basis, according to a recent press release.

John P. Butler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akebia, will lead the combined company, whilst Keryx will appoint the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the combined company. Jason A. Amello, Akebia’s Chief Financial Officer, is expected to serve in the same capacity.

The Baupost Group, L.L.C., who owns up to 21.4% of outstanding Keryx common stock has also agreed to convert outstanding convertible notes of Keryx into shares of Keryx common stock.

Committed to developing and delivering innovative therapeutic products. Keryx’s Auryxia® (ferric citrate) is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medicine to treat dialysis dependent CKD patients for hyperphosphatemia and non-dialysis dependent CKD patients for iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).

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Akebia’s vadadustat is an investigational Phase 3 oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor (HIF-PHI) with the potential to advance the treatment of patients with anaemia due to CKD, many of whom are currently receiving injectable erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs).

If FDA-approved, both have the potential to deliver an all-oral treatment approach for patients with anaemia due to CKD and offer therapeutic options to patients across all stages of CKD.

“The combined company will have an expanded and highly complementary nephrology portfolio,” said John P. Butler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akebia.

“Combining Akebia and Keryx creates a leading renal company and provides it with the infrastructure to maximise the market potential of Auryxia and build launch momentum for vadadustat in the United States, subject to FDA approval.”

“Akebia and Keryx bring together assets and capabilities that should lead to new business opportunities and substantial realisable synergies,” added Greg Ciongoli, Partner, The Baupost Group.