Dec 14, 2018 | Updated: 09:51 PM EST

Pharmacyclics May Soon Be Acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $18 Billion

Mar 03, 2015 04:29 PM EST

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Pharmacyclics, the US-based biopharmaceutical organization that develops and commercializes small-molecule drugs for cancer and other diseases, surged to a new high when Bloomberg reported that the company is considering selling itself for $18 billion. The company rose to $230 when news about the alleged sale spread. Bloomberg reported that the company has attracted interest from Johnson & Johnson, among other healthcare giants. But Johnson & Johnson declined to comment on the deal, as reported by the Financial Times.

In November 2013, the company launched, developed and commercialized the much acclaimed "Ibrutinib" in the United States, which is marketed under the name of "Imbruvica". It is an anti-cancer drug that treats chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia and mantle cell lymphoma. The drug avoids a few serious side effects caused by chemotherapy and costs $100,000 a year.

Dr Clare Dearden, Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Head of the Haemato-Oncology Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital, said: "Historically there have been few treatment options beyond chemotherapy, which can have significant side effects and may not be suitable or effective for all patients. This new treatment not only shows good efficacy but it is also generally well tolerated. It therefore has the potential to meet a significant unmet need for selected patients with this disease."

In a study conducted on 391 patients, progression of the disease was significantly reduced when Imbruvica was administered. The death rate was lowered by more than half.

"It is one of the major advances in CLL treatment in the past couple of years," said Jae Park, a leukemia doctor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "It is not a cure, but it is relatively easily tolerable."

According to Financial Times, "Pharmacyclics is considering a sale that could value the US cancer drugs maker at about $19bn, according to people familiar with the matter, suggesting that consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry is far from over."

Robert Duggan, CEO of Pharmacyclics, is a billionaire now, with 18% of the company's shares. His net worth is $3.2 billion.

Pharmacyclics is currently worth $17 billion. In the last three years, the company's stock price has seen a rise of nearly 700%. So, analysts contend that the acquisition is worth the money. This could well be the greatest biotech acquisition in history.

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