• Top biotech firm in US to acquire Onyx


    WASHINGTON, D.C.: The world’s top biotech firm, Amgen, has struck a deal to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals for $10.4 billion, the two companies announced on Sunday (Monday in Manila), joining a trend toward consolidation in the drug making industry.

    The deal to purchase cancer drug specialist Onyx was reached after months of negotiations. Thousand Oaks-based Amgen will acquire outstanding shares of Onyx for $125 a share in cash, the statement said.

    That’s an increase of $4 a share over Amgen’s previous bid, rejected as insufficient by the San Francisco drugmaker in June.

    The deal will allow Amgen to get its hands on Kyprolis, a promising treatment for blood cancer developed by Onyx and approved by US authorities in 2012.

    In the statement, Amgen said that it will use its “experience” and “capabilities” in cancer research to support Onyx’s clinical development programs, and exploit the potential of Kyprolis in the US and the rest of the world.

    “We believe that Amgen is ideally suited to realize the full potential of Onyx’s portfolio and pipeline for the benefit of physicians and patients,” said Amgen chief Robert Bradway.

    The transaction is expected to be finalized in the beginning of the fourth quarter, subject to US regulatory approval. Amgen, whose sales grew by 5 percent in the second quarter to $4.68 billion, said that it will finance the acquisition by borrowing $8.1 billion and drawing on its cash reserves for the remaining $2.3 billion.

    The deal comes on the heels of several other large mergers that have swept the drug industry in recent months, particularly in North America, including major acquisitions by US firms Perrigo and Johnson & Johnson, as well as by Canada’s Valeant.

    Meanwhile, Dutch banker ING is selling its South Korean life insurance arm ING Life Korea to private equity firm MBK Partners in a deal worth 1.24 billion euros ($1.6 billion), it said on also Monday.

    MBK Partners is the biggest private equity business in South Korea.

    “This transaction is a major step in the divestment of our Asian insurance and investment management activities,” the Amsterdam-based ING said in a statement.

    The deal is part of a drive by the company, the biggest bank in The Netherlands, to restructure its business as it sought to repay 10 billion euros in state aid, received in October 2008 during the financial crisis.

    “Together with the scheduled payment of the next tranche . . . to the Dutch state in November 2013, this will bring us closer to the end phase of the restructuring of our company,” ING chief executive Jan Hommen said in the statement.



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