- Adds high-growth commercial franchise to Neuroscience portfolio with Epidiolex®, the first and only FDA-approved prescription cannabidiol medicine and a potential near-term blockbuster
- Enhanced product diversification of combined company expected to provide accelerated double-digit revenue growth
- Anticipated to be accretive in first full year of combined operations and substantially accretive thereafter
Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ) and GW Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: GWPH) today announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement for Jazz to acquire GW for $220.00 per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the form of $200.00 in cash and $20.00 in Jazz ordinary shares, for a total consideration of $7.2 billion, or $6.7 billion net of GW cash. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Upon close of the transaction, the combined company will be a leader in neuroscience with a global commercial and operational footprint well positioned to maximize the value of its diversified portfolio.
GW is a global leader in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing novel, regulatory approved therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform to address a broad range of diseases. The company’s lead product, Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) oral solution, is approved in patients one-year and older for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), all of which are rare diseases characterized by severe early-onset epilepsy. Epidiolex was the first plant-derived cannabinoid medicine ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product has also been approved, under the tradename Epidyolex®, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in patients two years of age and older for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome in conjunction with clobazam and is under EMA review for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC. In addition to the approved indications for Epidiolex, there are considerable opportunities to pursue other indications within the epilepsy field, including other treatment-resistant epilepsies where significant unmet needs of patients exist.
Beyond Epidiolex, GW has a scientific platform and deep innovative pipeline of cannabinoid product candidates, as well as highly specialized manufacturing expertise, developed over two decades of pioneering and building leadership in cannabinoid science. This pipeline includes nabiximols, for which the company is in Phase 3 trials to seek FDA approval for treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, as well as earlier-stage cannabinoid product candidates for autism and schizophrenia.
“Jazz is proud of our leadership position in sleep medicines and rapidly growing oncology business. We are excited to add GW’s industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities,” said Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. “We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz. Given the strength of our balance sheet and the meaningful financial drivers of the transaction, we are confident in the value we can deliver to both companies’ shareholders and patients. We look forward to welcoming the GW team to Jazz to build an even stronger company.”
“Over the last two decades, GW has built an unparalleled global leadership position in cannabinoid science, including the successful launch of Epidiolex, a breakthrough product within the field of epilepsy, and a diverse and robust neuroscience pipeline. We believe that Jazz is an ideal growth partner that is committed to supporting our commercial efforts, as well as ongoing clinical and research programs,” said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals. “We have a shared vision of developing and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant unmet needs in neuroscience and an approach of putting patients first. Together, we will have an opportunity to reach and impact more patients through a broader portfolio of neuroscience-focused therapies than ever before.”
Creates an Innovative, High-Growth, Global Biopharma Leader with Financial Strength
Adding a Third High-Growth Commercial Franchise: The transaction enhances product diversification through the addition of a third high-growth commercial franchise for critical unmet patient needs within: 1) sleep disorders, 2) oncology, and 3) epilepsies. Specifically, the acquisition will expand Jazz’s growing neuroscience business by adding Epidiolex, a global, high-growth childhood-onset epilepsy franchise with near-term blockbuster potential.
GW has rapidly scaled Epidiolex, achieving approximately $510 million in annual sales within two years of launch and broad access to date, with more than 97% of U.S. lives covered1. Epidiolex addresses significant unmet needs in the field of epilepsy and offers the potential for a substantial improvement in outcomes for patients who were previously drug resistant. The combined company will create a neuroscience leader with a global franchise and complementary therapeutic expertise, to maximize the value of XywavTM (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium oxybates) oral solution, Epidiolex, and other neuroscience products.
Robust Combined Pipeline in Neuroscience and Oncology to Drive Sustainable Growth: GW’s novel cannabinoid platform will expand and diversify Jazz’s growing neuroscience pipeline. The collective Jazz and GW teams will bring highly complementary expertise to a pro-forma pipeline of 19 clinical development programs across neuroscience and oncology, including in sleep, epilepsy, movement disorders, psychiatry, hematology and solid tumors. Following the close of the transaction, the combined portfolio will include highly differentiated assets addressing significant unmet patient needs, which, when combined with complementary commercial models, accelerates Jazz’s growth strategy.
Shared Culture and Exceptional Talent Will Advance Mission to Transform the Lives of Patients: Jazz and GW are focused on developing life-changing medicines for people with serious diseases, often with limited or no treatment options. Jazz’s and GW’s global teams possess unique talents and expertise and have proven capability to develop and launch differentiated therapies to support often-overlooked patient populations. Both companies are guided by shared values that include integrity, collaboration, passion, innovation and pursuit of excellence, and have cultures where diversity, equity and inclusion are a priority. The transaction brings together two companies with a significant presence in the United Kingdom, which is expected to remain an important part of the combined enterprise.
Expected to Deliver Substantial Shareholder Value: The combination is expected to provide accelerated double-digit top-line revenue growth and to be accretive in the first full year of combined operations and substantially accretive thereafter. Jazz’s strong cash flow profile provides the capability to rapidly deleverage to a target net leverage of less than 3.5x by the end of 2022.
Under the terms of the agreement, holders of GW ADSs, which each represent 12 GW ordinary shares, will be entitled to receive $220.00 for each GW ADS, of which $200.00 will be paid in cash and $20.00 in Jazz ordinary shares. This represents a premium of approximately 50 percent over GW’s closing stock price on February 2, 2021, of $146.25 and 60 percent over GW’s 30-day volume weighted average price of $137.17.
The number of Jazz ordinary shares to be issued to the holders of GW ADSs will be based on the volume-weighted average price of Jazz’s ordinary shares over a 15 trading day period preceding the closing date of the transaction, subject to limitations on the maximum and minimum number of Jazz ordinary shares issuable per GW ADS based on a price range of $139.72 to $170.76 per Jazz ordinary share. Holders of GW ordinary shares that are not in ADS form will be entitled to receive the foregoing consideration divided by 12 per ordinary share.
The cash portion of the transaction consideration is expected to be funded through a combination of cash on hand and debt financing. Jazz has obtained fully committed debt financing from BofA Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC. The financing includes a meaningful portion of pre-payable debt, in line with Jazz’s commitment to rapid deleveraging.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, and is subject to the approval of GW shareholders, sanction by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales and other customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Conference Call Details
The two companies will host a conference call today at 8:30 AM ET to discuss this transaction. The live webcast may be accessed from the Investors section of the companies’ websites at www.jazzpharmaceuticals.com and www.gwpharm.com. Please connect prior to the start of the conference call to ensure adequate time for any software downloads that may be necessary. Investors may participate in the conference call by dialing (855) 353-7924 in the U.S., or (503) 343-6056 outside the U.S., and entering passcode 5591214.
A replay of the conference call will be available through February 10, 2021, by dialing (855) 859-2056 in the U.S., or (404) 537-3406 outside the U.S., and entering passcode 5591214. An archived version of the webcast will be available for at least one week in the Investors section of the companies’ websites at www.jazzpharmaceuticals.com or www.gwpharm.com.
Evercore and Guggenheim are serving as lead financial advisors to Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Evercore is acting as debt advisor. Jazz Pharmaceuticals also received financial advice from BofA Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Macfarlanes LLP and Arthur Cox LLP are serving as legal advisors.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Centerview Partners LLC are serving as financial advisors to GW Pharmaceuticals plc and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Slaughter and May are serving as legal advisors.
About Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc
Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ) is a global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing life-changing medicines that transform the lives of patients with serious diseases — often with limited or no options. We have a diverse portfolio of marketed medicines and novel product candidates, from early- to late-stage development, in key therapeutic areas. Our focus is in neuroscience, including sleep and movement disorders, and in oncology, including hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. We actively explore new options for patients including novel compounds, small molecule advancements, biologics and innovative delivery technologies. Jazz is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has employees around the globe, serving patients in more than 90 countries.
About GW Pharmaceuticals plc
Founded in 1998, GW is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform in a broad range of disease areas. The Company’s lead product, EPIDIOLEX® (cannabidiol) oral solution, is commercialized in the U.S. by its U.S. subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in patients one year of age and older. This product has received approval in the European Union under the tradename EPIDYOLEX® for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS or Dravet syndrome in conjunction with clobazam in patients two years and older and is under EMA review for the treatment of TSC.
The Company has a deep pipeline of additional cannabinoid product candidates, in particular nabiximols, for which the Company is advancing multiple late-stage clinical programs in order to seek FDA approval in the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. The Company has additional cannabinoid product candidates in clinical trials for autism and schizophrenia.