Takeda Swallows Up Struggling Ariad in $5.2 Billion Deal

Takeda Swallows Up Struggling Ariad in $5.2 Billion Deal January 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced today that it is buying Cambridge, Mass.-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals for about $5.2 billion.

Takeda is acquiring all outstanding company shares for $24 per share in cash. It has been approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close by the end of February 2017.

Ariad has two targeted therapies that fit in well with Takeda’s oncology portfolio. The biggest is Iclusig, which has been approved for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and a subset of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Brigatinib, still in trials, has the potential to be approved in a genetically-defined subpopulation of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Brigatinib received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2014.

Takeda has several successful cancer drugs, including Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin), Ninlaro (ixazomib) and Velcade (bortezomib).

This acquisition is likely to come as a surprise to investors and analysts. With the JP.Morgan Healthcare Conference this week in San Francisco, analysts expected to be hearing about Ariad’s drug pricing for Iclusig and how the company plans to respond to a Congressional inquiry into price increases.

In May 2016, Incyte Corporation acquired Ariad’s European operations. It also inked a licensing agreement for exclusive development and commercialization rights to Iclusig in Europe and other specific countries.

Iclusig is approved in Europe to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that are otherwise resistant to or intolerant of some second generation BCR-ABL inhibitors, as well as all patients who have the T315l mutation. The licensing deal allowed for development and commercialization of Iclusig in the European Union and 22 other countries, including Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Israel and Russia.

Christophe Weber, president and chief executive officer of Takeda, said in a statement, “The acquisition of Ariad is a unique opportunity that will enable us to positively impact the lives of more patients worldwide, advance our strategic priorities and generate attractive returns for our shareholders. This is a very exciting time for Takeda as we will broaden our hematology portfolio and transform our global solid tumor franchise through the addition of two innovative targeted therapies. Opportunities to acquire such high-quality, complementary targeted therapies do not come often, and we are very excited about the potential for this transaction to benefit patients, our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

“We are very pleased to combine with Takeda,” said Paris Panayiotopoulos, Ariad’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement, “which will allow us to not only accelerate our mission to discover, develop and deliver precision therapies to patients with rare cancers, but also deliver immediate and meaningful value to our shareholders through a substantial cash premium. This exciting transaction is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Ariad’s talented team of employees. We have tremendous respect for Takeda, and I believe our shared commitment to innovation and research-driven cultures will provide for a smooth transition.”

Takeda is currently trading for 4,965 Japanese Yen.

Ariad stock trading was halted pending the news, but over the last 12 months shares had gained 158 percent.

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