Abbott buys Facet Biotech for $450M

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Abbott has succeeded where Biogen Idec once failed. The company announced late Tuesday that it's purchasing Facet Biotech for $450 million, or $27 a share. That's 67 percent premium over the biotech's closing price of $16.21 earlier today.

Abbott says the acquisition will boost its early- and mid-stage pharmaceutical pipeline. The developer has its eyes on two primary therapeutic areas--immunology and oncology. The highest-priority program is daclizumab, a Phase II biologic for multiple sclerosis that will move into Phase III trials in Q2 of 2010. Facet is already partnered with Biogen Idec on the compound. The biotech also has oncology compounds for multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in early to mid-stage trials.

Last year Biogen attempted to purchase Facet, eventually making a "best and final offer" of $430 million after its initial $356 million bid was deemed hopelessly unrealistic based on the developer's cash position and pipeline. But with the support of two major investors, Facet was able to fend Biogen off, while at the same time noting that it would be open to more substantial bids from other companies. Biogen will owe Facet a big milestone on the launch of a late-stage study for daclizumab.

"This acquisition will further strengthen Abbott's biologics capabilities and pharmaceutical pipeline," says John Leonard, M.D., senior vice president, global pharmaceutical research and development, Abbott. "Daclizumab is a promising treatment for multiple sclerosis, a disease that has a significant unmet medical need, and has the potential to become an important treatment option for patients. We continue to explore multiple mechanisms to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer with both biologic and small molecule approaches."

Abbott has been on a buying spree as of late. It spent $10 billion on new acquisitions last year, paying $3 billion for Advanced Medical Optics and $6.6 billion for the prescription drug business of Solvay.

- here's Abbott's release
- read the BusinessWeek article for more

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