Lawyers Davis Polk & Wardwell have advised rare disease specialist Shire on the sale of its oncology business to French group Servier for US$2.4 billion.

The 16 April deal will see Servier, which was advised by Baker McKenzie, take over Shire’s in-market products, including components of multi-agent treatments for leukaemia and pancreatic cancer. The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol, an acute leukaemia treatment currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration, and Shire’s early stage immuno-oncology pipeline collaborations.

The Davis Polk team was led by partner William Chudd, and associates Evan Rosen and Sarah Weissman. Partner Frank Azzopardi and associate Paul Lee provided intellectual property and technology advice, while partner Michael Mollerus and associate Anne McGinnis provided tax advice. Executive compensation advice was provided by partner Kyoko Takahashi Lin and counsel David Mollo-Christensen. Partner Jesse Soloman advised Shire on antitrust and competition.

Baker McKenzie’s global head of M&A, Michael DeFranco, took the lead for Servier. The team included corporate partners Thomas Hughes and Stéphane Davin as well as counsel Brooke Mestre and associate Michelle Carr. Partner Kai Kramer provided Servier with tax advice and partner Jur Strobos advised the company on intellectual property, while partners Christopher Guldberg, Ryan Vann and Carole Spink and counsel Heiko Burow gave employment advice.

 “While the oncology business has delivered high growth and profitability, we have concluded that it is not core to Shire’s longer-term strategy” Flemming Ornskov, Shire chief executive officer, said in a statement, adding that the company was planning further “selective disposals of non-strategic assets”.

“The acquisition of Shire's oncology franchise enables Servier to meet its strategic ambitions [and] allows us to establish a direct commercial presence in the United States,“ Olivier Laureau, Servier group president, said.