Celgene will spend $7.2bn to acquire immune and inflammatory specialist Receptos as it looks to broaden its portfolio outside of oncology.
The deal will give Celgene, known predominately for its development of cancer drugs, access to a potential blockbuster inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis drug from Receptos.
The drug, currently known as ozanimod, is undergoing phase III trials for both ulcerative colitis (UC) and relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).
Celgene said in a statement that the treatment could be approved for MS in 2018, with late-stage colitis data expected that year.
Celgene sees peak annual sales of ozanimod hitting between $4bn to $6bn for both conditions.
It will however face tough competition from a range of new MS treatments from Novartis, Biogen and Sanofi, as well as established blockbuster treatments for UC from AbbVie and MSD.
This also comes in the same month that Celgene pumped $1bn into Juno Therapeutics to gain access to its cancer immunotherapy portfolio.
The US biotech firm has in addition recently set up collaborations with Agios Pharmaceuticals, which has a promising leukaemia treatment, and a deal with AstraZeneca in immuno-oncology.
This deal is the most it has ever spent on a purchase outside of oncology, and signals the firm's intent to become a broader biotech company, if not a biopharma firm, in the future.
Bob Hugin, chairman and chief executive of Celgene, said: “The Receptos acquisition provides a transformational opportunity for Celgene to impact multiple therapeutic areas.
“This acquisition enhances our I&I portfolio and allows us to leverage the investments made in our global organisation to accelerate our growth in the medium and long-term.”
Celgene currently markets Otezla (apremilast) in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, but does not currently have any medicines for MS.
The Receptos pipeline also includes seven molecules in phase II development in a variety of indications, including RPC4046 for eosinophilic esophagitis, and a growing number of phase I and preclinical assets.
Faheem Hasnain, president and chief executive of Receptos, said: “In Celgene, we have found the ideal partner to maximise the potential of Ozanimod and our promising pipeline in order to improve the lives of patients worldwide.”
The majority of Celgene's sales come from multiple myeloma treatment Revlimid (lenalidomide), which saw sales growth of 16% last year, bringing revenue for the medicine to $4.9bn.