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Pfizer Expands in Cancer With $10.6 Billion Deal for Array

Drew Armstrong
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Pfizer Expands in Cancer With $10.6 Billion Deal for Array

(Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc. will buy Array BioPharma Inc. for $10.6 billion to gain its promising new medicines for cancer, which could end or limit the use of punishing chemotherapy for some patients.The agreed price of $48 in cash is 62% above Array’s close last Friday -- already a record high. The company’s shares have soared thanks to drugs that target a mutation that’s found across a wide variety of tumor types, and could be used in treating a broad set of cancers in patients who carry the mutation. Array’s drugs, Braftovi and Mektovi, are already approved in the U.S. for use in advanced melanoma.Pfizer said in a statement that it will get royalties from the uses of drugs that Array has licensed out to other companies. It will acquire a pipeline of drugs in development, as well as future revenue from Braftovi and Mektovi in some other malignancies, such as colon cancer.Array shares rose 58% in to $46.67 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. Pfizer was little changed.Cancer has become one of the hottest areas for deal activity between drug and biotechnology companies. Research efforts dating back decades have helped scientists understand how genetic mutations cause some cancers to grow, and other scientific advances have helped them learn how tumors evade the body’s defenses. That knowledge has created an array of targets for drugmakers to attack, leading to new tailored therapies often defined by a tumor cell’s specific biology rather than its location in the body.Unlike other biotech stocks, many of which have pulled back from recent 2018 highs, Array’s shares have been on a steady march upward. The stock was already at a record before the deal announcement, following Array’s news last month of positive clinical trial results using Braftovi and Mektovi with Eli Lilly & Co.’s Erbitux. That combination could be the first chemotherapy-free regimen for some patients who have advanced colon cancer.Array’s drug targets a mutation called BRAF, which can show up in some forms of melanoma, colorectal and thyroid cancers, among others. Other drugs on the market target that mutation as well. Roche Holding AG’s Zelboraf is projected to bring in $168.7 million this year, according to a survey of analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Novartis AG’s Tafinlar is used in combination with another drug Mekinist, and the combination is expected to bring in $1.24 billion this year, according to analysts.The deal could also boost other biotech stocks, especially companies with drugs in the later stages of development that could be appetizing for big drugmakers. “We expect this announcement to provide a tailwind for the sector,” said Stephen Willey, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co. He called the premium for the Array deal appropriate, given the company’s positive clinical trial news.The deal is Pfizer’s biggest since its 2016 acquisition of Medivation for $14 billion, another blockbuster cancer deal that the New York-based company used to expand its oncology offerings. With that takeover, Pfizer gained Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug that last year Xtandi brought it $699 million.“From an overall capital allocation perspective, our priorities don’t change,” Pfizer Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio said on a conference call Monday. The company will continue to look at dividends, buybacks and small or mid-size deals, and doesn’t see the need for a large merger, he said. Pfizer has lagged behind drugmakers like Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. that have brought to market best-selling drugs that use the immune system to attack tumors. But the company has acquired or developed a set of other treatments for breast, prostate other cancers that target disease based on its biological profile. Such methods can result in more effective drugs, fewer side-effects, or both.Pfizer plans to fund the deal with a combination of debt and cash. It said it expects the deal to close in the second half of this year. The deal comes with a $400 million termination fee, according to a regulatory filing by Array.Guggenheim Securities and Morgan Stanley & Co. served as Pfizer’s financial advisers, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz gave legal advice. Centerview Partners was Array’s financial adviser, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as its legal adviser.(Updates with analyst comment in seventh paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the description of Pfizer’s advisers in the final paragraph.)\--With assistance from Marthe Fourcade and Cynthia Koons.To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net, Cécile DauratFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

(Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc. will buy Array BioPharma Inc. for $10.6 billion to gain its promising new medicines for cancer, which could end or limit the use of punishing chemotherapy for some patients.

The agreed price of $48 in cash is 62% above Array’s close last Friday -- already a record high. The company’s shares have soared thanks to drugs that target a mutation that’s found across a wide variety of tumor types, and could be used in treating a broad set of cancers in patients who carry the mutation. Array’s drugs, Braftovi and Mektovi, are already approved in the U.S. for use in advanced melanoma.

Pfizer said in a statement that it will get royalties from the uses of drugs that Array has licensed out to other companies. It will acquire a pipeline of drugs in development, as well as future revenue from Braftovi and Mektovi in some other malignancies, such as colon cancer.

Array shares rose 58% in to $46.67 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. Pfizer was little changed.

Cancer has become one of the hottest areas for deal activity between drug and biotechnology companies. Research efforts dating back decades have helped scientists understand how genetic mutations cause some cancers to grow, and other scientific advances have helped them learn how tumors evade the body’s defenses. That knowledge has created an array of targets for drugmakers to attack, leading to new tailored therapies often defined by a tumor cell’s specific biology rather than its location in the body.

Unlike other biotech stocks, many of which have pulled back from recent 2018 highs, Array’s shares have been on a steady march upward. The stock was already at a record before the deal announcement, following Array’s news last month of positive clinical trial results using Braftovi and Mektovi with Eli Lilly & Co.’s Erbitux. That combination could be the first chemotherapy-free regimen for some patients who have advanced colon cancer.

Array’s drug targets a mutation called BRAF, which can show up in some forms of melanoma, colorectal and thyroid cancers, among others. Other drugs on the market target that mutation as well. Roche Holding AG’s Zelboraf is projected to bring in $168.7 million this year, according to a survey of analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Novartis AG’s Tafinlar is used in combination with another drug Mekinist, and the combination is expected to bring in $1.24 billion this year, according to analysts.

The deal could also boost other biotech stocks, especially companies with drugs in the later stages of development that could be appetizing for big drugmakers. “We expect this announcement to provide a tailwind for the sector,” said Stephen Willey, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co. He called the premium for the Array deal appropriate, given the company’s positive clinical trial news.The deal is Pfizer’s biggest since its 2016 acquisition of Medivation for $14 billion, another blockbuster cancer deal that the New York-based company used to expand its oncology offerings. With that takeover, Pfizer gained Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug that last year Xtandi brought it $699 million.

“From an overall capital allocation perspective, our priorities don’t change,” Pfizer Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio said on a conference call Monday. The company will continue to look at dividends, buybacks and small or mid-size deals, and doesn’t see the need for a large merger, he said.

Pfizer has lagged behind drugmakers like Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. that have brought to market best-selling drugs that use the immune system to attack tumors. But the company has acquired or developed a set of other treatments for breast, prostate other cancers that target disease based on its biological profile. Such methods can result in more effective drugs, fewer side-effects, or both.

Pfizer plans to fund the deal with a combination of debt and cash. It said it expects the deal to close in the second half of this year. The deal comes with a $400 million termination fee, according to a regulatory filing by Array.

Guggenheim Securities and Morgan Stanley & Co. served as Pfizer’s financial advisers, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz gave legal advice. Centerview Partners was Array’s financial adviser, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as its legal adviser.

(Updates with analyst comment in seventh paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the description of Pfizer’s advisers in the final paragraph.)

--With assistance from Marthe Fourcade and Cynthia Koons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net, Cécile Daurat

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.