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Japan's Daiichi Sankyo pays $410m for Ambit Biosciences

Gains rights to cancer drug quizartinib

Daiichi Sankyo logo

Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo boosted its oncology portfolio with the acquisition of San Diego-based biopharma firm Ambit Biosciences.

Ambit focuses on the discovery and development of small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and its lead drug candidate is quizartinib.

The phase III candidate is being studied in clinical trials as a treatment acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and adds to a Daiichi portfolio that includes both small molecules and monoclonal antibodies with novel targets in both solid and haematologic cancers.

The company's global head of development Mahmoud Ghazzi said: “Quizartinib will fit seamlessly into our already robust oncology pipeline focused on targeted therapies with the potential for personalising the treatment of cancer.

“With the acquisition of Ambit Biosciences, Daiichi Sankyo gains additional opportunities to develop promising treatments for cancer, including the global rights to quizartinib.”

Daiichi will acquire Ambit for $15 per share in cash – a total of around $315m – along with additional cash payments to Ambit shareholders if certain commercialisation-related milestones are met, bring the entire transaction to a possible $410m.

Michael Martino, president and CEO at Ambit Biosciences, said: “Daiichi Sankyo is the ideal organisation to take quizartinib to the next stage of development and to achieve our goal of making it available as quickly as possible to help as many AML patients as possible.”

The Ambit Biosciences board of directors has unanimously approved the acquisition and Daiichi said it expects the deal to close 'promptly' once regulatory obligations are met.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

30th September 2014

From: Sales

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