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Bristol-Myers Squibb buys Medarex

US pharma firm makes $2.4bn bid for biotech specialising in human antibody-based therapeutics

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has agreed to buy US biotech firm, Medarex for $2.4bn or $16 per share – a 90 per cent premium to Medarex' closing price of $8.40 per share on July 23.

Since 2005, Medarex has been helping BMS develop a treatment for melanoma. The deal is expected to re-establish BMS' position as one of the world's leading companies in oncology and aid the firm in realising its biologics strategy.

"Medarex' 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 CEO at BMS. "With its productive and proven antibody discovery capabilities, ability to generate interesting therapeutic programmes and unique set of pre-clinical and clinical assets in development, Medarex represents what we're looking for in terms of our String of Pearls strategy. This acquisition is another important step in our biopharma transformation," he added.

As a result of the acquisition BMS gains access to Medarex' UltiMAb human antibody development system, next-generation antibody-drug conjugate technology, rights to seven antibodies in clinical trials under Medarex' sole sponsorship and three other antibodies being co-developed with other partners, full ownership and rights to ipilimumb (a novel immunotherapy currently in phase III development for the treatment of metastatic melanoma) and royalties based on a percentage of sales for Simponi, Stelara and Ilaris.

Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, BMS, which already owns 2 per cent of Medarex, will begin a cash tender offer in late July. The deal agreement includes a provision under which Medarex has agreed not to solicit any competing offers for the company.

23rd July 2009

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