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Merger Monday, Biotech Edition: MRK, SNY, ARQL, THOR & More

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Monday, December 9, 2019

We start another trading week with some important company mergers and acquisitions activity, commonly known as “Merger Monday.” In this particular Monday’s case, large-cap pharmaceutical companies are putting their assets to work in the biotech space, particularly in cancer treatment (oncology).

First, New Jersey-based Merck & Co. (MRK - Free Report) has agreed to purchase Massachusetts-based ArQule for around $2.7 billion, or $20 per share. ArQule’s lead candidate in development (it currently has no drugs on the market) is an oral BTK inhibitor, which Merck intends to help flesh out its oncology portfolio. Shares of ArQule have shot up 100% on the news — even after the company had posted gains of 235%, year to date. The close of this deal is expected in the first quarter of 2020.

Parisian pharma giant Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) has also gotten into the biotech cancer-treatment act today, agreeing to buy SoCal’s Synthorx , an immuno-oncology firm with a lead candidate that treats solid tumors. Sanofi sees plenty of potential here, and is paying $2.5 billion, or $68 per share. this marks a 172% premium from Friday’s closing price, and pre-market trading has THOR up 168% at this hour.

Finally, a deadline extension was granted by Swiss pharma major Roche (RHHBY - Free Report) in its pursuit of biotech company Spark Therapeutics . The original deadline for the offer of $114.50 per share was originally scheduled for tomorrow; that’s now been pushed to a week from today, December 16th. Roche was to give additional time for regulators the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.K. Competition & Markets Authority. Spark shares jumped way back in late February when news of this deal first broke, also at the $114.50/share buying price.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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