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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

=Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) to be acquired by Celgene (CELG)?

  • Celgene is looking to purchase Juno Therapeutics, just one week after it announced that it was taking over Impact Biomedicines in a $7 billion transaction.
  • More M&A deals like this are expected due to the tax code enticing U.S.-based companies to bring back cash from abroad.
  • Joint ventures are also in the works. Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) recently worked out a deal with Lannett (NYSE: LCI), a Northeast Philadelphia drug manufacturer that has an application to sell a generic version of a drug that uses thalidomide to treat inflammatory skin disorders.

According to the Wall Street Journal, unnamed sources say Celgene is in talks to buy Juno. The two have long-partnered on cancer treatments including CAR-T drugs that teach the immune system to identify and fight cancer.

The talks could pan out in a deal in the coming weeks, sources say. The potential deal to acquire Juno would come on the heels of Gilead Sciences' (GILD) nearly $12 billion purchase of CAR-T drugmaker Kite Pharma late last year.

Now, Gilead and Novartis (NVS) have the only approved CAR-T drugs on market. Juno could follow with a CAR-T drug approval later this year, the company has said. So far, CAR-T drugs look best poised to treat blood cancers. Firms are also looking into using these therapies in solid tumors.

For Gilead, buying Kite helps stem the gap from declining hepatitis C drug sales. For Celgene, buying its longtime partner Juno could give it a leg up as it prepares to lose patient protection for Revlimid, which treats a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma.

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