M&A News: Merck & Co., Takeda, AstraZeneca

A roundup of mergers & acquisitions from Merck & Co., Takeda, and AstraZeneca.

Merck & Co. Adjusts Filing for $11.5-Bn Buy of Acceleron
Merck & Co. has withdrawn its premerger notification and report form to provide the US Federal Trade Commission additional time for the review of its pending $11.5-billion acquisition of Acceleron Pharma, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based bio/pharmaceutical company. Merck had announced the acquisition in September (September 2021).

Merck initially filed the notification on October 14, 2021 and said it planned to refile such form on or about November 1, 2021. As a result, Merck extended the tender offer, which was previously scheduled to expire on November 10, 2021, until November 18, 2021.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Source: Merck & Co.

Takeda To Acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics
Takeda has agreed to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics, a company focused on the properties of gamma delta (γδ) T cells for immunotherapy.

Through the acquisition, Takeda will obtain GammaDelta’s allogeneic variable delta 1 (Vδ1) gamma-delta (γδ) T cell-therapy platforms, which includes both blood-derived and tissue-derived platforms, in addition to early-stage cell-therapy programs. The acquisition expands Takeda’s immuno-oncology and innate immune cell-therapy portfolio with platforms using γδT cells for the potential treatment of solid tumors and hematological malignancies

The acquisition follows a multi-year collaboration between Takeda and GammaDelta Therapeutics, formed in 2017, to develop GammaDelta’s γδ T cell-therapy platforms, in which Takeda received an equity stake and an exclusive right to purchase GammaDelta. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of Takeda’s fiscal year 2022.

Source: Takeda and GammaDelta Therapeutics

AstraZeneca To Transfer Rights to Two Respiratory Drugs
AstraZeneca has agreed to transfer its global rights of Eklira (aclidinium bromide) and Duaklir (aclidinium bromide/formoterol) to Covis Pharma, a Zug, Switzerland-based specialty pharmaceutical company.

Eklira, known as Tudorza in the US, and Duaklir are inhaled respiratory medicines used for the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2020, Eklira and Duaklir generated revenue of $143 million in the countries covered by this agreement.

Covis Pharma will pay AstraZeneca $270 million upon completion. Covis Pharma will also cover certain ongoing development costs related to the medicines. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

Covis Pharma previously acquired the rights to the respiratory medicines Alvesco (ciclesonide), Omnaris (ciclesonide), and Zetonna (ciclesonide) from AstraZeneca in 2018.

Source: AstraZeneca