AbbVie wins Pharmacyclics race

BY Richard Summerfield

Biotech company Pharmacyclics has agreed to be acquired by Chicago based rival AbbVie in a deal worth around $21bn.

Under the terms of the deal, Pharmacyclics shareholders will receive $261.25 per share of the company held. The offer is comprised of a mix of cash and AbbVie equity, and the transaction is expected to close by mid-2015.

AbbVie was a late entrant to the race to acquire Pharmacyclics, beating out competition from Johnson & Johnson and a third, unnamed party to secure the deal. The three way contest for Pharmacylics was driven by interest in the company’s crown jewel – Imbruvica – a cancer drug which could make an important impact on the oncology sector. The company expects US sales of Imbruvica to hit $1bn in 2015, however by 2020 worldwide sales are forecast to reach $5.8bn.

"Team Pharmacyclics is honoured and enthusiastic to join the AbbVie organisation. We share a common purpose. Together and as one, our focus remains to create a remarkable difference for patient betterment around the world," said Bob Duggan, chairman and chief executive of Pharmacyclics, in a statement announcing the deal.

"The acquisition of Pharmacyclics is a strategically compelling opportunity. The addition of Pharmacyclics' talented and innovative team will add enormous value to AbbVie," said Richard Gonzalez, chairman and chief executive of AbbVie. "Its flagship product, Imbruvica, is not only complementary to AbbVie's oncology pipeline, it has demonstrated strong clinical efficacy across a broad range of hematologic malignancies and raised the standard of care for patients."

The deal continues the trend of significant M&A transactions in the pharma and biotech sectors in 2015 to date. With announced deals including Pfizer’s purchase of Hospira for $17bn, Valeant’s acquisition of gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix for $14.5bn, and Shire's $5.2bn deal for NPS Pharma, M&A in the pharma and biotech  reached $70bn by the beginning of March - more than double the level of activity seen in the same period last year.

News: AbbVie to Pay $21 Billion for Pharmacyclics, Maker of a Promising Cancer Drug

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