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Bayer Acquires Cancer Drug Developer Algeta for $2.9B

Currency dice (MD4 Group/Flickr)

(M4D Group/Flickr)

The global pharmaceutical company Bayer Group based in Germany is buying the specialty drug company Algeta ASA in Oslo, Norway for NOK 17.6 billion (USD 2.9 billion). Algeta, developer of a radium-based drug to treat prostate cancer, says its board of directors approved the sale, subject to confirmation by shareholders.

Bayer and Algeta collaborated on the development of Xofigo, radium-223 dichloride, to treat advanced cases of prostate cancer, where the cancer metastasizes to the bones and becomes castration resistant. Xofigo works by binding with minerals in the bone to deliver radiation directly to bone tumors, thus limiting damage to surrounding normal tissue.

The drug is intended as well for cases where the cancer spreads after the patient receives therapy to lower  testosterone that can stimulate the growth of prostate tumors. National Cancer Institute expects 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer in 2013, leading to 29,720 deaths.

FDA approved Xofigo in May 2013 under its priority review program that expedites the review of new therapies that appear to be safe and effective, and where no other satisfactory alternative exists. The agency based its approval on a clinical trial of 809 men with castration-resistant prostate cancer that spread to bones but not to other organs. The results showed patients receiving Xofigo had a median survival of 14 months compared to 11.2 months for those receiving a placebo.

Algeta stockholders will receive the equivalent of $59.13 a share, a 37 percent premium over the stock’s closing price on 25 November. Bayer expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2014.

Bayer now markets Xofigo, which the company says is among its top five recently launched pharmaceutical products. The company expects the drug to generate as much as EUR 1 billion (USD 1.36 billion) a year.

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Hat tip: FirstWord Pharma

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