Amgen Snaps Up Nuevolution in $167 Million Deal

Amgen logo on building

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Shares of Denmark-based Nuevolution have soared more than 166 percent this morning after Amgen announced it will plunk down $167 million in cash to acquire the company in order to boost its drug discovery positions.

The two companies already have a years-old history between them. Three years ago Amgen and Nuevolution collaborated to develop and commercialize drugs in oncology and neuroscience with multiple targets. At the time the deal was struck, Amgen planned on Nuevolution to use its Chemetics drug discovery platform to identify compounds of interest. That drug discovery platform is at the heart of Amgen’s decision to bring Nuevolution under its umbrella. The Chemetics platform is a DNA-encoded library drug discovery platform that enabled the “efficient discovery of novel small molecule drug candidates.” Through the rapid screening of billions of molecules, the company can more quickly identify drug candidates. Chemetics has been used in numerous drug discovery and technology licensing partnerships, including difficult-to-drug biological disease targets, where other approaches had failed, Amgen said. The company added that bringing Nuevolution into Amgen’s folds will provide a closer integration of the Danish company’s technology and drug discovery expertise with Amgen’s R&D, manufacturing and commercialization.

Raymond Deshaies, senior vice president of Global Research at Amgen, said the vision for Amgen’s research organization is to improve the health of people across the globe by developing and delivering transformative medicines. To meet that goal, Deshaies said Amgen must embrace “compelling opportunities” like the acquisition of Nuevolution. The deal will “significantly expand Amgen's ability to discover novel small molecules against difficult-to-drug targets and with greater speed and efficiency,” he said. Deshaies added that the experience with Nuevolution over the past three years has been promising and the company is excited to “incorporate their expertise and DNA-encoded library discovery platform technology more holistically into Amgen's research moving forward."

The acquisition of Nuevolution has been supported by that company’s board of directors, as well as its largest shareholders. As part of the terms of the deal, Amgen said it offered retention agreements to the current full-time employees at Nuevolution. The Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen said it does not intend to change the composition of the management team nor its business operations following the acquisition. The deal is expected to be finalized in July.

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Stig Løkke Pedersen, Nuevolution’s chairman of the board, said in a statement that the company came to the agreement with Amgen following a comprehensive analysis of the deal. "Considering the significant premium and the undertakings from the three largest shareholders to accept the offer, our conclusion is that the offer is fair and we are unanimous in the decision to recommend the offer of SEK (Swedish Crowns) 32.50 per share."

Amgen is not the only pharma company to partner with Nuevolution. The company has relationships with Johnson & Johnson. Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

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