Merck & Co. to Acquire Pharma Company ArQule for $2.7 BillionBy
Merck & Co. has agreed to acquire ArQule, a biopharmaceutical company focused on kinase inhibitor discovery and development for cancer and other diseases, for $20 per share in cash for an approximate total equity value of $2.7 billion.
ArQule’s lead investigation candidate, ARQ 531, is an oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor currently in Phase II dose expansion study for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. BTK inhibition has been shown to prevent B-cell receptor signaling that is critical for the survival and proliferation of leukemic cells in many B-cell malignancies, according to information from the companies. ARQ 531 is a highly selective, reversible inhibitor that blocks both wild-type BTK and the C481S mutant form of the enzyme that is commonly associated with resistance to other BTK inhibitors.
Under the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of ArQule. 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 ArQule’s outstanding shares, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck’s acquisition subsidiary will be merged into ArQule, and any remaining shares of common stock of ArQule will be canceled and converted into the right to receive the same $20 per share price payable in the tender offer.
The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2020.