Merck Moves into Rare Disease with $11.5 Billion Acquisition of Acceleron
September 30, 2021
Merck took a significant step into the rare disease space, agreeing to pay $11.5 billion to acquire Acceleron Pharma, which is focused on pulmonary and rare hematological disorders.
Merck says the deal, the biggest bolt-on acquisition so far this year, complements and strengthens Merck’s cardiovascular pipeline.
Acceleron is focused on harnessing the power of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily of proteins that is known to play a central role in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation and repair. Acceleron’s lead therapeutic candidate, sotatercept, has a novel mechanism of action with the potential to improve short-term and/or long-term clinical outcomes in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare, progressive and life-threatening blood vessel disorder. Sotatercept is in phase 3 trials as add-on to current standard of care for the treatment of PAH.
“Strategic business development is a top priority for Merck as we look to drive sustainable growth and further bolster and balance our pipeline with breakthrough science,” said Rob Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck. “Acceleron’s innovative research has yielded an exciting late-stage candidate that complements and strengthens our growing cardiovascular portfolio and pipeline and holds the potential to build upon Merck’s proud legacy in cardiovascular disease.”
In addition to sotatercept, Acceleron’s portfolio includes Reblozyl (luspatercept-aamt), a first-in-class erythroid maturation recombinant fusion protein approved in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia for the treatment of anemia in certain rare blood disorders. Reblozyl is being developed and commercialized through a global collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.
“We believe Merck is well-positioned to apply its industry-leading clinical and commercial capabilities to harness the potential of sotatercept as we join together to help make an impact on cardiopulmonary disease for the benefit of patients,” said Habib Dable, CEO and president, Acceleron.
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Acceleron. 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 Acceleron’s outstanding shares, receipt of applicable regulatory approvals, and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck’s acquisition subsidiary will be merged into Acceleron, and any remaining shares of common stock of Acceleron will be canceled and converted into the right to receive the same $180 per share price payable in the tender offer. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Author: Rare Daily Staff
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