23 July 2009
Bristol-Myers deals for Medarex
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. will pay $2.4 billion to acquire biotechnology company Medarex Inc.
Medarex focuses on making antibody-based drugs. The offer of $16 a share represents a 90% premium to Medarex’s closing share price on Wednesday of $8.40 per share on NASDAQ.
Bristol-Myers already owns a 2% stake in Medarex, through its four-year-old partnership.
Medarex developed “transgenic” mice with human immune systems able to generate fully human antibodies that can act as drugs.
“Medarex’s technology platform, people, and pipeline provide a strong complement to our company’s biologics strategy, specifically in immuno-oncology,” said James M. Cornelius, chairman and chief executive at Bristol-Myers.
“Medarex has evolved significantly over the past two decades from a research platform to a development company,” said Howard H. Pien, chairman and chief executive of Medarex. “We believe that this transaction represents a great opportunity to place our clinical programs and technology assets in the hands of one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies with the expertise, resources, motivation, and dedication to bring innovative cancer treatment options to patients in need.”
Bristol-Myers and Medarex are developing one of the mouse-generated antibodies, called ipilimumab, as a treatment for patients in late stages of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. There are now no highly effective treatments for it.
In three mid-stage clinical trials, 30% to 42% of patients with metastatic melanoma treated with ipilimumab were still alive after two years, which Bristol-Myers said established a survival benefit.
The companies are now conducting a larger late-stage trial, requested by U.S. regulators, designed to show an unequivocal survival benefit.
The partners are also conducting a mid-stage trial of ipilimumab among lung cancer patients and a late-stage study of it against advanced prostate cancer.
Medarex’s technology helped develop several recently approved medicines, for which the company receives royalties.
Both boards approved the deal and it should close by the end of August, officials said.
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