Merck to buy Acceleron for about $11.5 bln in rare disease drug push

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Sept 30 (Reuters) – Merck & Co stated on Thursday it might purchase Acceleron Pharma Inc for about $11.5 billion, broadening its portfolio past growing old most cancers drug Keytruda with potential remedies that might herald recent income.

The deal offers Merck entry to Acceleron’s uncommon illness drug candidate, sotatercept, which the corporate expects may herald billions of {dollars} in gross sales, and comes as Keytruda strikes towards the lack of market exclusivity in 2028.

The lung most cancers remedy accounted for 36.7%, or $4.18 billion, of Merck’s whole gross sales within the second quarter.

Sotatercept is at the moment in a late-stage research, testing it as a remedy for a uncommon heart problems referred to as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a sort of hypertension that impacts blood vessels within the lungs. Merck sees PAH as a roughly $7.5 billion market by 2026.

The drugmaker pays $180 per Acceleron share in money, representing a premium of about 2.6% to the inventory’s closing worth on Wednesday, in response to Refinitiv knowledge.

Avoro Capital, which owns 7% of Acceleron inventory together with its managed funds, stated the deal undervalues the drugmaker.

“We imagine there ought to be no urgency to promote at a low worth now for the reason that worth of the corporate will solely improve as further medical trial knowledge is launched,” it stated in an announcement.

Though the Acceleron deal won’t absolutely take away the overhang of generic competitors for Keytruda, it does assist diversify gross sales, which addresses a big shareholder concern, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Louise Chen wrote in a consumer be aware.

Merck is concentrating on a U.S. launch for sotatercept in 2024-2025 and its market exclusivity for PAH is predicted to increase by means of 2036-2037.

The deal additionally provides FDA-approved blood-related dysfunction drug Reblozyl, which Acceleron markets with accomplice Bristol Myers Squibb , to Merck’s portfolio.

Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru;
Enhancing by Vinay Dwivedi, Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D’Silva


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