Merck announced Nov. 21 it entered into a definitive agreement for its subsidiary to acquire California-based biopharmaceutical company Imago for $36 per share, or approximately $1.35 billion.
Imago focuses on developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other bone marrow diseases. Its lead candidate, bomedemstat (IMG-7289), is being evaluated in multiple Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of essential thrombocythemia (ET), myelofibrosis (MF), and polycythemia vera (PV), in addition to other indications.
“We continue to invest in our pipeline with a focus on applying our unique capabilities to unlock the value of breakthrough science for the patients we serve,” Merck President and CEO Robert Davis said in a statement. “This acquisition of Imago augments our pipeline and strengthens our presence in the growing field of hematology.”
What are myeloproliferative neoplasms?
Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of diseases of the bone marrow characterized by excessive production of red blood cells, platelets or certain white blood cells. Their progression over time may lead to bleeding problems, anemia, infection, fatigue, thrombosis or other signs and symptoms.
Under the terms of the deal, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Imago. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.
“This milestone is a testament to more than a decade of pioneering research by Imago scientists and the entire Imago team’s unwavering dedication to improving the lives of patients,” added Imago founder and CEO Hugh Rienhoff Jr. “This agreement leverages Merck’s industry-leading clinical development expertise to maximize the therapeutic potential of bomedemstat while providing important value for shareholders. I would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the early investors – Blackstone Life Sciences, Frazier Healthcare, Omega Funds, Amgen Ventures, and MRL Ventures Fund who placed their faith in Imago beginning in 2014, as well as the outstanding study investigators and their patients who have made the clinical development of bomedemstat possible.”
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor to Merck and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP as its legal advisor. Centerview Partners LLC acted as financial advisor to Imago and Latham and Watkins LLP as its legal advisor.
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