Nestlé pays $2.6bn to eat peanut player Aimmune

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Nestlé’s swoop yesterday on the peanut allergy player Aimmune Therapeutics is that, at $2.6bn, this is the fourth biggest deal of 2020 so far. Nestlé, which owns around 20% of Aimmune, has been a long-time admirer, first taking a stake in 2016. And Aimmune is currently the only peanut allergy contender in town: its oral immunotherapy Palforzia got approved in January while its rival, DBV Technologies, received a complete response letter for its Viaskin Peanut patch in August. Still, Nestlé is paying a big premium for a product that did not book any sales in the second quarter. This was down to the coronavirus pandemic – Palforzia must be administered in an allergist’s office – but there had already been concerns about the product’s commercial opportunity. Sellside forecasts compiled by EvaluatePharma have been on the slide: two years ago, Palforzia was expected to bring in $1.7bn by 2024, but this has now dropped to $884m. Perhaps Nestlé’s marketing machine can do better. Another biotech company in which Nestlé holds a stake, the microbiome specialist Seres Therapeutics, climbed 8% yesterday, perhaps on takeout hopes.

Top five deals announced in 2020*
Target Acquirer Value ($bn) Date announced
Momenta Pharmaceuticals Johnson & Johnson 6.5 Aug 19
Forty Seven Gilead Sciences 4.9 Mar 2
Principia Biopharma Sanofi 3.7 Aug 17
Aimmune Therapeutics Nestlé 2.6 Aug 31
Corvidia Therapeutics Novo Nordisk 2.1** Jun 11
*As of September 1, 2020. **Up-front amount was $725m. Source: EvaluatePharma.

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