Merck & Co. has announced a $11.5 billion purchase of Acceleron Pharma to expand its portfolio beyond the old cancer drug Keytruda by developing potential treatments that could provide a new revenue stream.
The deal will provide Merck with access to Acceleron’s drug Sotatercept, a candidate drug for a rare disease, which the company expects to represent a multi-billion dollar sales opportunity, given that this movement comes with Keytruda’s tendency to lose its exclusivity in the market by 2028.
It is worth noting that some sources circulated the news of Acceleron’s talks with a giant pharmaceutical company for a possible deal only a few days ago. Read more [Acceleron Is In Talks For Its Potential Sale].
Sotatercept is currently in the final stages of studies to test its effectiveness in treating a rare cardiovascular disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a type of high blood pressure that affects the blood vessels in the lung. Merck believes that the disease will have a market of $7.5 billion by 2026, with lung cancer drugs accounting for 36.7%, or $4.18 billion, of Merck’s total sales during the second quarter.
The drugmaker will pay $180 for each Acceleron share in cash, which is 2.6% more than its stock closed on Wednesday.
Merck aims to launch Sotatercept in the US in 2024-2025 to extend its treatment exclusivity for PAH until 2036-2037. The deal will also add to Merck’s portfolio an FDA-approved blood disorder treatment called Reblozyl, which Acceleron is marketing with partner Bristol Myers Squibb, and it is expected that the deal will be closed during the fourth quarter of this year. As for the stock market, Merck’s stock witnessed an increase of 1.2%, recording $75.96.