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Ironwood to buy Swiss biotech for $1 billion

The Boston company’s acquisition of VectivBio Holding AG is intended to strengthen its focus on gastrointestinal conditions

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals makes the irritable bowel syndrome treatment Linzess.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals plans to buy a Swiss biotech for $1 billion as the Boston drug firm seeks to strengthen its focus on treatments for gastrointestinal diseases.

Ironwood, which makes the irritable bowel syndrome treatment Linzess, said Monday it will acquire VectivBio Holding AG through a $17 all-cash offer for all outstanding shares.

That represents an 80 percent premium on VectivBio’s average share price over the past 90 trading days. VectivBio closed at $11 a share on Friday on the Nasdaq exchange.

The deal has been approved by the boards of both firms and is expected to close during the second half of this year. VectivBio plans to hold a meeting of shareholders on June 26 to approve the deal.


If the deal goes through, Ironwood would bolster its pipeline with apraglutide, an experimental drug for short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure that is undergoing testing in a late-stage clinical trial. Results from the study are expected by the end of the year.

“The acquisition of VectivBio, including its compelling asset, apraglutide, is an ideal strategic fit with Ironwood,” said Tom McCourt, chief executive officer of Ironwood.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.