Biotech giant Amgen to buy rival firm Onyx

AFP-JIJI

The world’s top biotech firm, Amgen, has struck a deal to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals for $10.4 billion, the two companies announced Sunday, joining a trend toward consolidation in the drug-making industry.

The deal to purchase cancer drug specialist Onyx was reached after months of negotiations. California-based Amgen will acquire outstanding shares of Onyx for $125 per share in cash. That is an increase of $4 a share over Amgen’s previous bid, rejected as insufficient by the San Francisco drugmaker in June.

The deal will let Amgen get its hands on Kyprolis, a promising treatment for blood cancer developed by Onyx and approved by U.S. authorities in 2012.

In the statement, Amgen said it will use its “experience” and “capabilities” in cancer research to support Onyx’s clinical development programs and exploit the potential of Kyprolis in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

“We believe that Amgen is ideally suited to realize the full potential of Onyx’s portfolio and pipeline for the benefit of physicians and patients,” said Amgen chief Robert Bradway.

The transaction is expected to be finalized in the beginning of the fourth quarter, subject to U.S. regulatory approval.

Amgen, whose sales grew by 5 percent in the second quarter to $4.6 billion, said it will finance the acquisition by borrowing $8.1 billion and drawing on its cash reserves for the remaining $2.3 billion.

The deal comes on the heels of several other large mergers that have swept the drug industry in recent months, particularly in North America, including major acquisitions by U.S. firms Perrigo and Johnson & Johnson, as well as by Canada’s Valeant.