Celgene took a big stride toward its goal of becoming a global marketer of blood cancer therapies with the news over the weekend that it is buying Pharmion for $2.9 billion. That buyout amount is 11 times Pharmion's annual revenue and a 46 percent premium for its shares. Pharmion sells Vidaza and Thalomid and has extensive operations in Europe, where Celgene has been particularly interested in expanding. Celgene owns Thalomid and sells the multiple myeloma drug in the U.S. Celgene's lead therapy is Revlimid. The buyout also covers a late-stage therapy for small-cell lung cancer and the mid-stage oncology drug MGCD0103.
"The rationale for the deal is fairly clear," says Celgene CEO Sol Barer. "It's another important step as we evolve to become what we want to become: a global leader in hematology and cancer." Celgene is the seventh largest biotech by sales volume. The deal is expected to close next summer.
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