Eisai inks $255M deal to buy AkaRx

New Jersey-based AkaRx is getting bought out for $255 million by Japan's Eisai, which picked up the option to buy the developer when it scooped up MGI Pharma in a $3.9 billion buyout almost two years ago. And Eisai says it will wrap the deal by January 8, 2010, when the option is timed to expire.

Back in the summer of 2007, MGI shelled out $45 million as a down payment on a commercialization pact for AkaRx's lead therapy, AKR-501. At the time the therapy was in a mid-stage trial for thrombocytopenia, an abnormal drop in blood cells involved in forming blood clots. And MGI was thrilled by the program's potential, calling the drug a potential blockbuster. It was so excited, MGI committed to the $255 million buyout option, which was picked up by Eisai when it bought MGI in early 2008. 

AkaRx was formed as a spin-out of the Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical and Fujisawa Healthcare merger of 2005.

- read Eisai's release
- here's the report from Dow Jones