Amgen to buy Celgene psoriasis drug Otezla for $13.4 billion – Metro US

Amgen to buy Celgene psoriasis drug Otezla for $13.4 billion

Amgen to buy Celgene psoriasis drug Otezla for $13.4 billion
By Michael Erman and Manas Mishra

By Michael Erman and Manas Mishra

(Reuters) – Amgen Inc will buy Celgene Corp’s psoriasis drug Otezla for $13.4 billion in cash, clearing the way for Bristol-Myers Squibb to go ahead with its $74 billion deal for Celgene by the end of the year.

Amgen, which announced the deal on Monday, is paying a hefty price for the drug, analysts and investors said. Still, Otezla will deliver growth for the company right away and its shares rose around 2 percent in early trading.

Bristol-Myers and Celgene’s shares were both up around 3 percent.

Bristol-Myers said in June that it would sell Otezla to allay concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission because of a competing treatment that it is developing. Analysts said at the time that they were expecting Otezla to sell for around $8 billion to $10 billion.

Bristol-Myers said in a statement that there was significant interest from multiple potential buyers from early on in the process.

Otezla brought in sales of $1.61 billion last year. Amgen said it expected the drug’s sales to grow at least in the low-double digits over the next five years.

(For an interactive on Otezla sales click here: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/BRISTOL-MYERS-DIVESTI…)

Jeff Jonas, healthcare portfolio manager at Gabelli funds, said that a number of Amgen’s current drugs face loss of patent protection and competition from biosimilar drugs, so the growth from Otezla would be welcome.

“This is an attractive product for them that fits more or less with their current portfolio,” he said. “It’s an approved product with a good safety profile, so there’s not a lot of risk.”

Still, he expressed some skepticism about Amgen’s growth forecast for the drug, noting that new competitors, including Bristol-Myers’ drug in development, are likely to eat into its market share.

Amgen said it expects the deal to produce tax benefits with a present cash value of $2.2 billion, reducing the actual deal total to $11.2 billion.

Bristol-Myers said most of the proceeds from the sale will go to pay down debt from the Celgene deal. It also increased a previously planned $5 billion accelerated share buyback to $7 billion.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Steve Orlofsky)

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