Successful acquisition of Inhibitex after 30% increase in Bristol-Myers offer

The acquisition of Inhibitex by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is imminent after the multinational pharmaceutical company increases its takeover bid by 30%.

The move is the second major acquisition of the company for Hepatitis C-related therapeutic products in the last 3 months as other drugmakers compete to grab biggest share of the $20 billion market of Hepatitis C-related drugs. The acquisition which topped an unnamed competitor has propelled Bristol-Myers to obtain a “nuke” according to its CEO, Lamberto Andreotti and become one of the biggest player in the Hepatitis C market.

The takeover bid has started since last October with a meeting between three representatives from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Inhibitex’s CEO, Russell Plumb. Bristol-Myers was initially only interested in one of Inhibitex’s experimental drugs, INX-189 but after given access to and reviewing information on other pipeline assets, technology platforms as well as discovery, research and development capabilities on top of non-public business and operations-related information, the company decided to launch a full takeover of Inhibitex. The move was in response to an offer made by an unnamed competitor and was decided only within a day.

INX-189 is a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor which stops the hepatitis C virus from replicating. Based on data provided by Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Canada, there are approximately 170 million of people worldwide afflicted with Hepatitis C, a bloodborne disease that can cause liver cirrhosis and cancer.

The $2.5 billion purchase of Inhibitex is definitely not the last major acquisition by Bristol-Myers as the company strives to build on its “string of pearls” acquisition strategy which is bearing fruit while grappling with losing patent protection for three of its top four drugs within three years. Addition of Inhibitex into the company’s portfolio means that Hepatitis C will be one of three major growth areas for Bristol-Myers together with stroke and immuno-oncology, stated Elliot Sigal, Bristol-Myers’ head of research and development. He added that the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor will add extra dimensions towards development of all-oral regimens with better cure rates, shorter duration of therapy and lower toxicity compared to current standard of care.

Pharma partnering and investment will be one of the key issues addressed in this year’s BioPharma Asia Convention. Acquisition, merger, partnership, investment and other related key issues will be discussed on the platform provided by Pharma Partnering & Investment World Asia 2012 by notably speakers such as Carrie Hillyard, partner for CM Capital Investments and Ling Ho, partner for Clifford Chance. Don’t miss the golden opportunity of hearing them speak!

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