Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. Boosts Cancer Pipeline With $410 Million Ambit Biosciences Buy

Published: Sep 29, 2014

Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. Boosts Cancer Pipeline With $410 Million Ambit Biosciences Buy

September 29, 2014

By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Daiichi Sankyo and Ambit Biosciences announced today they will merge in a deal valued up to $410 million.

Daiichi will acquire all outstanding Ambit stock for $15 per share, about $315 million, and merge with a Daiichi subsidiary. Ambit stockholders will potentially receive additional cash payments if sales milestones are met, which would bring the entire deal to $410 million.

San Diego-based Ambit Biosciences focuses on unmet medical needs in oncology, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by inhibiting kinases that are significant drivers for those illnesses. The company’s pipeline includes three programs: quirzartinib for acute myeloid leukemia (AML); AC410, a small molecule inhibitor of JAK2, with possible utility for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases; and AC708, a small molecule compound that inhibits CSF1R, a receptor tyrosine kinase. Quirzartinib was entered into a phase 3 clinical trial in April 2014.

“Daiichi Sankyo is the ideal organization to take quizartinib to the next stage of development, and ultimately, to achieve our goal of making it available as quickly as possible to help as many AML patients as possible,” said Michael Martino, Ambit president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “This attractive offer to shareholders is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Ambit team to our mission of developing innovative therapies for areas of high unmet medical need.”

Tokyo-based Daiichi maintains a portfolio of marketed drugs for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and bacterial infections, and is also developing treatments for blood clotting disorders. The company is also pushing an R&D program into oncology and cardiovascular-metabolic therapies.

The company announced on Sept. 26 that it had received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for LIXIANA (edoxaban tosilate hydrate) for the prevention of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) and for the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE). The company has also filed for approval of the drug in both the U.S. and European Union.

“The acquisition of Ambit Biosciences further builds our presence in oncology to ensure we are delivering on our goal of providing world-class, innovative pharmaceuticals in core areas of unmet medical need,” said Joji Nakayama, Daiichi president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Long-term success in oncology depends upon three pillars: fostering development of our in-house molecules, exploring mutually beneficial partnerships and executing strategic purchases, such as Ambit Biosciences, which follows our acquisitions of U3 Pharma and Plexxikon.”

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