Merck targeted in global ransomware attack
Merck & Co. was among those affected by a massive ransomware attack Tuesday that infiltrated the computer systems of companies around the world as well as government ministries in Ukraine. Merck confirmed in Twitter posts Tuesday that it was hit in the cyberattack but did not disclose much else about the hack. Merck representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for further detail on Tuesday afternoon. Experts are calling the latest attack Petya, according to The New York Times, which reports that the hackers’ identities aren’t known. According to the publication, the program infiltrates computers and demands a ransom in order for users to take back control. Other companies based in France, England, Russia, and elsewhere suffered from the virus, as well as government systems in Ukraine. The virus was detected at Merck early Tuesday morning in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Stada’s €5.32B buyout bombs, failing to get enough shareholder support
German generics maker Stada is back on the market. Just weeks after announcing a €5.32 billion ($5.63 billion) buyout by private equity investors, the deal has failed, unable to get enough support from shareholders. Stada in May agreed to be acquired by London-based private equity firm Cinven and Boston investment firm Bain Capital for essentially €66 a share, a 48.9% premium. But Monday it announced they had secured commitments from only 65.52% of shareholders, instead of the required 67.5%. The investors had already lowered the threshold for approval from 75%. Stada called it a show of support for its current strategy, but sources told Reuters it was more likely scuttled because retail investors that held Stada shares in index funds had ignored the call for their approval. About 27% of Stada’s shares are held by retail investors.
Private equity fund buys out sterile injectables maker LSNE
Sterile drug manufacturing is a growth area, and a London-based investment fund has bitten off a piece of it with the acquisition of a U.S. CDMO that specializes in the field. Management and private equity firm Permira is buying out Lyophilization Services of New England (LSNE) for an undisclosed sum. LSNE has three manufacturing facilities located in New Hampshire that provide lyophilization services to pharma, biotech and medical device clients. It specializes in small to medium-size batches. Matt Halvorsen, who founded the company in 1997, will retain a significant ownership position and continue to be its CEO, Permira said. Claes Glassell, the former CEO of CMC Biologics, will become chairman of the board, provide management support and help with the company’s growth strategy. There has been a significant amount of growth in contract sterile manufacturing in recent years as a growing proportion of new drugs are sterile injectables. In 2015, Pfizer snapped up sterile injectable and biosimilar specialist Hospira for $15 billion.
Lonza says $5.5B deal for Capsugel gets regulatory approvals
Swiss-based CDMO Lonza said it has been given the green light by regulators for its $5.5 billion deal to buy U.S.-based contract capsule and drug producer Capsugel from KKR. The company said it expects to complete the purchase in the next few days, pending customary closing conditions. The deal, which was announced late last year, puts Lonza at the forefront of contract manufacturing in what has been a hot CDMO consolidation market of late. Earlier this month, Albany, New York-based AMRI agreed to a buyout by private equity firm The Carlyle Group and GTCR worth more than $920 million. News of that deal came weeks after CDMO giant Patheon agreed to be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific for $7.2 billion. As part of its deal, Lonza will have to refinance $2 billion in Capsugel debt, yet Lonza expects the transaction to be accretive almost immediately by providing about $100 million in savings through cross-selling opportunities and by combining manufacturing and services.