Eisai continues biologics push with $3.9bn MGI Pharma buy

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chemotherapy

Japanese drugmaker Eisai has agreed to buy US biopharma firm MGI
Pharma for $3.9bn (€2.7bn) in a bid to expand its US presence and
strengthen its oncology pipeline.

Eisai's acquisition of MGI Pharma continues the increasing trend of pharmaceutical companies buying biological drug makers as a way to bolster their pipelines. In addition to bolstering its pipeline, Eisai plans to use MGI's sales and marketing staff to bolster its presence in the states. MGI Pharma has some ten drug candidates in its pipeline, focussed in the oncology and acute care areas and its acquisition for $3.9bn marks the second oncology-buy Eisai has made in the last year. Nine months ago​, Eisai, Japan's fourth largest pharma firm, bought US antibody specialist Morphotek to gain access to its Morphodoma antibody construction platform and pipeline. The $41 per share bid for MGI has been unanimously approved by the company and represents a 38.7 per cent premium on MGI's closing share price on 28 November, the day before MGI declared that it was exploring "strategic alternatives". "Eisai has enormous respect for MGI Pharma's products, pipeline and people, and we look forward to working with their highly skilled team to address the unmet medical needs of patients throughout the world,"​ said Mr Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai. "Strategically, we expect this transaction to allow Eisai to significantly strengthen its oncology business and increase the likelihood of achieving our current strategic plan targets and our future revenue and earnings growth." ​ MGI currently has three oncology and acute care products on the market: Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride), a treatment to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea; Dacogen (decitabine), a treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome; and Gliadel Wafer (polifeprosan 20 with carmustine implant) a drug delivery device for treating brain cancers. In addition to its marketed and pipeline products and R&D expertise, Eisai is looking to benefit from the company's commercial capabilities that include US field sales specialists that it hopes will create a broader base to enable continued sales growth. This push at the US market will also be helped with the completion of Eisai's new manufacturing and formulation R&D facility at its North Carolina, US site.

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