Celgene Offers $7.2 Billion for Receptos
US biotech firm Celgene has agreed to pay $7.2 billion, or $232 per share, to acquire compatriot Receptos, a biotech company that makes a potential blockbuster drug to treat autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
The all-cash offer is said to represent a 12% premium to California-based Receptos’ closing price on Jul. 14, which observers said was a relatively modest amount compared to other recent transactions in the biotech sector. It follows by two weeks Celgene’s announcement of plans to invest $1 billion in Juno Therapeutics, a maker of experimental cancer treatments.
In an attempt to rapidly build a pipeline of new drugs through acquisitions and collaborations rather than internal R&D, Celgene has sealed 30 deals or partnerships since 2011. In April of this year it agreed to pay AstraZeneca an upfront fee of $450 million to collaborate on one of the Swedish-British group’s most promising immunotherapies. This partnership will be excluded from the agreement with Juno.
According to news reports, Receptos’ most advanced drug, Ozanimod, is a treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis that can be taken as a once-a-day pill, avoiding the need for injections that can cause considerable side effects. The drug is in late-stage clinical trials due to be completed in 2017, which – if successful – could pave the way for a commercial launch in 2019.
Ozanimod is also being tested in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A second drug, licensed from AbbVie, is in phase two trials for patients with eosinophilic esophagitis.
Founded in 1986, Celgene is regarded as one of the US biotech sector’s cornerstone companies, ranking alongside Gilead, Amgen and Biogen – all of which have a market capitalization of around $100 billion.