Indy-based Acacia Pharma being acquired by New Jersey firm; fate of local operations unknown

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For 15 years, Acacia Pharma Group operated quietly below the radar, developing specialty drugs for patients undergoing surgery and invasive procedures.

Even in Indianapolis, where it has its small headquarters on the northeast side, the company was not a household name.

Now, Acacia officials and employees are waiting to see what will happen to their jobs and whether the company will remain here in any form, now that it is being acquired by specialty drugmaker Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, for $103.9 million.

The deal was announced March 28 and is expected to close in early summer, subject to shareholder and government approval.

Acacia has 70 employees, including about 10 in its Indianapolis office at 8440 Allison Pointe Blvd., near the intersection of East 82nd Street and Allisonville Road. The workers here include top officials in marketing, regulatory review, human resources and other functions.

The company also has a small group of workers in the United Kingdom, where it does its research and development. It also contracts out much of its R&D.

“I don’t have any clarity at this point on Eagle’s plans for employees here,” said Mike Bolinder, Acacia’s CEO and a former product brand director of drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co.’s cardiovascular business unit. “I think they’re still assessing their needs. … I honestly don’t know their thinking or plans on that.”

Bolinder added that he plans to leave the company but isn’t sure of his next step. He has been with Acacia for about seven years, including about three years as CEO.

Eagle did not return messages left by IBJ.

In a government filing, it said it was attracted to Acacia largely by its two commercial products, Byfavo (for sedation in adults undergoing procedures lasting 30 minutes or less) and Barhemsys (for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting).

Eagle said the transaction represented an opportunity for its “highly skilled hospital-based salesforce” to integrate and promote Acacia’s products.

“The proposed transaction is an attractive opportunity to accelerate Eagle’s existing growth strategy and further its advantage in acute care,” the company said in the filing.

Eagle had revenue of $171.5 million last year. Acacia had revenue of $1.2 million. “Acacia now expects it would require a minimum of approximately $115 million of additional cash to fund operations to break even,” Eagle’s filing said.

Eagle said the pharmaceutical market has faced challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in disrupted hospital operations, limited access, and significantly increased time and capital investment required for product launches.

“As a result of these conditions, the Acacia Group has experienced a significant reduction in its available liquidity as the net revenue in 2021 and so far in 2022 continues to lag behind expectations,” Eagle’s filing said.

A large group of Acacia shareholders have agreed to the deal, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investors include Cosmo Technologies Limited, Gilde Healthcare II Sub-Holding BV and Lundbeckfond Invest A/S. Together, they hold about 49% of Acacia’s shares.

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2 thoughts on “Indy-based Acacia Pharma being acquired by New Jersey firm; fate of local operations unknown

  1. A 15 year old Pharma co selling for $103M is a scratch and dent sale. Also, with 70 employees on annual revenue of $1.2M, how did they stay open this long?

    1. Same way as Endocyte survived for 20 years or so without a commercial product (before being sold for $2.1B): capital raises based on promising drug candidates.