Celgene, a biotech giant, has merged with and acquired Juno Therapeutics and their leading blockbuster drug cancer therapy in one of their largest deals ever. For a total of $9 billion, Celgene will pay $87 a share in cash for those not already owned by this corporation.
Celgene and Juno have been collaborating since June 2015 under which the two companies would leverage T cell therapeutic strategies to develop treatments for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases with an initial focus on CAR-T and TCR technologies. In April 2016, Celgene exercised its option to develop and commercialize the Juno CD19 program outside of North America and China.
Juno develops cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell (CAR-T cell) receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Several product candidates have shown compelling clinical responses in clinical trials in refractory leukemia and lymphoma conducted to date.
“The acquisition of Juno builds on our shared vision to discover and develop transformative medicines for patients with incurable blood cancers,” says Mark J. Alles, Celgene’s chief executive officer. “Juno’s advanced cellular immunotherapy portfolio and research capabilities strengthen Celgene’s global leadership in hematology and adds new drivers for growth beyond 2020.”
This acquisition will position Celgene to become a preeminent cellular immunotherapy company with a platform to be at the forefront of future advances. JCAR017, a pivotal stage asset, with an emerging favorable profile in DLBCL, is expected to add approximately $3 billion in peak sales and significantly strengthen Celgene’s lymphoma portfolio, and JCARH125 will enhance Celgene’s campaign against BCMA (B-cell maturation antigen), a key target in multiple myeloma.
“The people at Juno channel their passion for science and patients towards a common goal of finding cures by creating cell therapies that help people live longer, better lives,” says Hans Bishop, Juno’s president and chief executive officer. “Continuing this work will take scientific prowess, manufacturing excellence, and global reach. This union will provide all three.”
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