Baxalta and Shire to merge

Baxalta

The Baxalta plant (formerly Baxter International) near Social Circle is one of Gov. Nathan Deal s biggest economic development projects since he took office. The $1 billion campus along I-20 is expected to open in 2016 and to eventually employ about 1,500 people. J. Scott Trubey/Staff strubey@ajc.com

Ireland’s Shire PLC plans to acquire Baxalta, the maker of blood therapies and treatments for rare disorders that is building a more than $1 billion pharmaceutical plant east of Atlanta.

The $32 billion deal is expected to create a giant in the world of bioscience — particularly as it relates to rare conditions.

Shire has pursued Illinois-based Baxalta for months, starting with an unsolicited offer for the company. Baxalta and Shire said in a news release the combined company is expected to generate more than $20 billion in annual revenue by 2020.

The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies. The cash and stock deal values Baxalta at $45.57 per share. The deal is expected to close in mid-2016.

Shire said it expects the tie-up will create more than $500 million in annual cost savings.

Geoffrey Mogilner, a spokesman for Baxalta, said the merger will result in “no change in plans” for the new facility.

“We continue to plan to be commercially operational in 2018,” he said in an email.

At its Georgia plant, Baxalta will make plasma-based treatments for patients with immune deficiencies, including its Gammagard product. The treatment takes antibodies from healthy people and replaces what’s missing in patients with weak immune systems.

Georgia BioScience Training Center

The Baxalta plant (formerly Baxter International) near Social Circle is one of Gov. Nathan Deal s biggest economic development projects since he took office. The $1 billion campus along I-20 is expected to open in 2016 and to eventually employ about 1,500 people. J. Scott Trubey/Staff strubey@ajc.com

The sprawling pharma plant near Social Circle, about 45 miles east of downtown Atlanta, is expected to create 1,500 jobs when it is fully operational.

In September, the state opened its $14 million Georgia BioScience Training Center, an educational facility at the plant to train future Baxalta workers and potentially the workers of other life sciences firms recruited to come to Georgia.

Georgia BioScience Training Center

The Baxalta plant (formerly Baxter International) near Social Circle is one of Gov. Nathan Deal s biggest economic development projects since he took office. The $1 billion campus along I-20 is expected to open in 2016 and to eventually employ about 1,500 people. J. Scott Trubey/Staff strubey@ajc.com

When Georgia landed Baxalta (formerly part of Baxter International) in 2012, it was an economic highlight for a state suffering from high unemployment and a real estate collapse. The recruitment came at a price: a local and state incentive package valued at more than $210 million, including the training center.

“This proposed combination allows us to realize our vision of building the leading biotechnology company focused on rare diseases,” Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov, said in a news release. “Together, we will have leadership positions in multiple, high-value franchises and become the clear partner of choice in rare diseases. Our expanded portfolio and presence in more than 100 countries will drive our growth to over $20 billion in anticipated annual revenues by 2020.”

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