Born from frozen camel blood, Ablynx is $4.8 billion prize

Camels stand at the fairgrounds of the Pushkar Camel Fair in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, on Nov. 15, 2012. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Brent Lewin.

It began almost three decades ago with a container of frozen camel blood in Belgium, took a detour through Morocco and progressed to a stock listing in New York last year. The latest chapter in Ablynx's story: a takeover worth about $4.8 billion.

The biotech company -- which Monday agreed to a bid from France's Sanofi, snubbing a lower offer from Danish diabetes-drug maker Novo Nordisk -- stemmed from an accidental discovery. A group of students at the Free University of Brussels in the late 1980s needed animal tissue for a project and found a sample of camel blood in the freezer, said Serge Muyldermans, a researcher who helped found Ablynx...

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