Merck & Co. to Acquire Idenix PharmaceuticalsBy
Merck & Co. Inc, has agreed to acquire the biopharmaceutical company Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $24.50 per share in cash or approximately $3.85 billion. Idenix is engaged in the discovery and development of medicines for treating human viral diseases. Its primary focus is on the development of oral antiviral therapeutics to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Idenix's outstanding shares (assuming the exercise of all options), the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act ,and other customary conditions. Upon the completion of the tender offer, Merck will acquire all remaining shares through a second-step merger. The companies expect the transaction to close in the third quarter of 2014.
“Idenix has established a promising portfolio of hepatitis C candidates based on its expertise in nucleoside/nucleotide chemistry and prodrug technologies,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, in a company press release. “Idenix's investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, once-daily, all oral, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regimen that has a duration of treatment as short as possible for millions of patients in need around the world.”
Idenix Pharmaceuticals currently has three HCV drug candidates in clinical development: two nucleotide prodrugs (IDX21437 and IDX21459) and a NS5A inhibitor (samatasvir). These drug candidates are being evaluated for their potential inclusion in the development of all oral, pan-genotypic fixed-dose combination regimens.
Merck's R&D portfolio includes several HCV medicines in development, the leading of which is a combination of MK-5172, an investigational HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor and MK-8742, an investigational HCV NS5A replication complex inhibitor. The combination of these two investigational candidates has received breakthrough therapy designation from FDA for the treatment of HCV. In April 2014, Merck announced the initiation of Phase III clinical trials for MK-5172/MK-8742 to evaluate the combination with and without ribavirin in various genotypes and across a broad range of patient populations with chronic HCV.
Source: Merck & Co.