Nadine Voisin (Left) & Sarah Downie (Right)
Nadine Voisin (Left) & Sarah Downie (Right)

The pharmaceutical sector has seen a flurry of big M&A deals lately, and Hughes Hubbard & Reed partners Sarah Downie and Nadine Voisin have served on the team for another multi-billion dollar deal: Merck & Co.’s $3.85 billion purchase of Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The two companies announced the deal on June 9 after their boards approved the sale, which should close in the third quarter. Merck agreed to pay $24.50 a share for the company, triple Idenix’s closing price of $7.23 on June 6, according to the firm.

Merck plans to combine the two companies’ most promising drugs to produce a faster, more effective cure for hepatitis C. Idenix currently has three hepatitis C drugs in clinical development, and Merck markets three hepatitis C medications: Victrelis, PegIntron and Rebetol.

“Idenix has established a promising portfolio of hepatitis C candidates based on its expertise in nucleoside/nucleotide chemistry and prodrug technologies,” Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in a statement. “Idenix’s investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, once-daily, all oral, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regime that has a duration of treatment as short as possible for millions of patients in need around the world.”

Hughes Hubbard partner James Modlin led the team.

Based in New York, Downie is a partner in the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation department. She advises plan sponsors, employers, management and executives on all aspects of compensation and benefits. She has experience with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, COBRA, HIPAA and federal health care reform legislation.

Voisin is co-head of the firm’s employment practice group in Paris. She advises French companies and foreign groups located on French territory about individual and collective employment relations. She has specific experience relating to the management of company executives and managers’ careers, both at the French and international level, and more particularly with respect to issues involving remuneration, social protection and negotiating management departures.