The boards of oncology-drug maker Imclone, New York, and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, have approved an acquisition agreement under which Lilly would pay $6.5 billion for Imclone, according to a news release.
The deal follows the rejection of two previous acquisition offers by drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.which has a 17% interest in Imcloneto pay about $4.5 billion for the company. Imclone and Bristol-Myers currently have a co-development partnership in the cancer-therapy drug Erbitux, which is used in the treatment of metastatic-colorectal and squamous-cell head and neck cancers. In a written statement, Bristol-Myers Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Cornelius said that his company plans to continue that partnership under the new ownership arrangement.
Lillys acquisition offer is still subject to shareholder and customary regulatory approval, but it represents a 51% premium over Imclones closing stock price on July 30the day before Bristol-Myers rejected offer was made public.
If approved, Lilly would gain the rights not only to Erbitux, but also to three pipeline cancer drugs currently undergoing Phase II clinical trials. The proposed acquisition comes at a time when patent protection on several of Lillys drugs are about to expire, according to the news release. -- by Shawn Rhea