Why Novo Nordisk (NVO) Is Buying Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (DRNA) For $3.3 Billion

By Annie Baker ● Nov 18, 2021
  • Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: DRNA)  announced it entered into a definitive agreement with Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) under which Novo Nordisk will acquire Dicerna. This is why.

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: DRNA) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) under which Novo Nordisk will buy Dicerna, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of investigational ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) therapeutics, for $38.25 per share in cash — which represents a total equity value of $3.3 billion and a premium of 80% to Dicerna’s closing price on November 17, 2021. The deal was unanimously approved by the Dicerna Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk and Dicerna have been parties to a research collaboration since 2019 to discover and develop RNAi therapies using Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC RNAi platform technology. And the collaboration between Novo Nordisk and Dicerna encompassed the exploration of more than 30 liver cell targets with the potential to deliver multiple clinical candidates for disorders including chronic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and rare diseases. Novo Nordisk is expecting to initiate clinical development of the first investigational RNAi therapeutic to emerge from this collaboration in 2022.

Dicerna’s RNAi technology platform enables access to intracellular disease targets across the hepatic and extrahepatic cell and tissue types, complementing Novo Nordisk’s existing technology platforms. The acquisition supports Novo Nordisk’s strategy of developing and applying a broad range of technology platforms across all Novo Nordisk therapeutic areas.

Under the terms of the deal, Novo Nordisk, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Dicerna common stock at a price of $38.25 per share in cash. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Dicerna’s outstanding shares, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. And upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Novo Nordisk’s acquisition subsidiary will be merged into Dicerna, and any remaining shares of common stock of Dicerna will be canceled and converted into the right to receive the same $38.25 per share price payable in the tender offer. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.


“The acquisition of Dicerna accelerates Novo Nordisk’s research within RNAi and expands the usage of the RNAi technology. We build on our successful collaboration and by combining Dicerna’s state-of-the-art RNAi drug engine and intracellular delivery with our deep capabilities in disease biology understanding and tissue targeting through peptides and proteins we have the potential to expand our pipeline and deliver life-changing precision medicines for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and NASH, as well as rare diseases like endocrine disorders and bleeding disorders.”

— Marcus Schindler, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Novo Nordisk

“Since the start of our collaboration two years ago, the Dicerna and Novo Nordisk teams have established a strong rapport built on a foundation of mutual respect for one another’s capabilities, culture and expertise. The combination of Dicerna’s expertise in RNAi and oligonucleotide therapeutics and highly skilled employees with Novo Nordisk’s industry leadership in developing and commercializing medicines to treat serious chronic diseases, has the potential to significantly accelerate and expand our mission to deliver GalXC RNAi therapies for the benefit of patients and all our stakeholders.”

— Douglas Fambrough, Ph.D., Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dicerna