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Cubist splurges on Trius and Optimer buyouts to spur antibiotics growth

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Cubist Pharmaceuticals ($CBST) surprised some analysts with the announcements of two major acquisitions Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to buy both Trius Therapeutics ($TSRX) and Optimer Pharmaceuticals ($OPTR) to build its antibiotics business. The deals are worth $1.6 billion.

These are key buyouts for Cubist. The Lexington, MA-based company has become a major biotech player based primarily on sales of one antibiotic, Cubicin. Sales of the product accounted for $242.1 million of its $258.8 million in revenue for the second quarter, and the company has sought a variety of partnerships and deals to diversify and grow its business.

Cubist has agreed to scoop up San Diego-based Trius for $13.50 per share in cash or $707 million and a contingent value right for each share worth up to $2 based on commercial milestones, making the deal worth a total of $818 million. The buyout deal, which the boards of both companies have approved, features Trius's experimental antibiotic tedizolid phosphate. The antibiotic candidate has succeeded in a slate of late-stage studies, and regulatory filings for approval are expected in the second half of 2013.

Tedizolid phosphate is expected to face off on the market with Pfizer's ($PFE) Zyvox and could provide an additional weapon against antibiotic-resistant infections such as the dreaded MRSA bug. Bayer has licensed rights to market the drug outside the U.S.

In the buyout of New Jersey-based Optimer, Cubist would gain control of the company's marketed therapy against C. diff cases called Dificid. Optimer contracted Cubist about two years ago to co-promote Dificid, and the two companies have agreed to extend by one year that agreement, which expires this month, in connection with the buyout.

Cubist is forking over $10.75 per share in cash or $535 million in the Optimer acquisition, which includes a $5 CVR for each share based on Dificid sales milestones. With the CVR, the deal is valued at a total of $801 million.

- here's the Optimer release
- check out the Trius release
- read Xconomy's article

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