Merck in advanced talks to buy Acceleron Pharma – WSJ

The Merck logo is seen at a door of the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey, United States, on July 12, 2018. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Sept. 27 (Reuters) – Merck & Co (MRK.N) is in advanced talks to acquire drugmaker Acceleron Pharma Inc (XLRN.O), the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A potential deal could help Merck, which sells blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, add drugs for rare diseases to its pipeline.

Acceleron, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics to treat blood-related disorders. It had a market cap of $ 10.89 billion at its last close.

A Bloomberg report released on Friday said Acceleron was in talks to be bought out for more than $ 11 billion. Bloomberg had reported that several drugmakers, including Merck’s rival Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N), which owns 11.5% of Acceleron’s shares, were seen as potential suitors.

Acceleron is currently collecting royalties from sales of Reblozyl, a drug to treat two blood-related disorders, and is developing another treatment for a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs.

Reblozyl, which is co-promoted by Bristol and Acceleron, achieved a turnover of $ 274 million in 2020, according to Bristol Myers.

Uday Sampath and Manas Mishra report in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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