Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said on Wednesday it was buying Medarex Inc for about US$2.1 billion in cash, the latest in a string of biotechnology acquisitions by the drugmaker.
New York-based Bristol-Myers said it would pay US$16 a share for Medarex, based in Princeton, New Jersey. The price represents a 90 percent premium over Medarex’s closing share price on Wednesday of US$8.40.
Bristol Myers’ CEO James Cornelius said the deal fits into Bristol-Myers’ ongoing strategy of seeking to transform itself into a biopharmaceutical company by buying biotech drug compounds or companies in priority disease areas, while shedding noncore assets.
Medarex develops drugs that use antibody technology to home in on and attack cancer, inflammation and autoimmune and infectious diseases.
“Medarex’s technology platform, people and pipeline provide a strong complement to our company’s biologics strategy, specifically in immuno-oncology,” Cornelius said.
Just last month, shares in Medarex surged after an unusual report that two men in a study of its experimental prostate cancer drug had their tumors shrink dramatically.
Bristol Myers said it would acquire full ownership and rights to the drug, ipilimumab, as part of the deal. It said the drug, if approved by regulators, could be an important contributor to Bristol-Myers’ future growth. The Medarex deal has been approved by both companies’ boards.