Partnership becomes acquisition as Celgene takes on the CAR-T specialty company.
Celgene has confirmed that it will buy out Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion. Celgene is anticipating over $3 billion in sales from Juno’s lead therapy CAR-T JCAR017, which it hopes will receive FDA approval by next year. Juno and Celgene have been long time partners, collaborating together since 2015. The companies have a ten-year long-standing agreement that guarantees the firms work together in innovating new treatments for both cancer and immune diseases. With the acquisition of Juno Therapeutics by Celgene, Celgene will retain total control of JCAR017 in addition to eight additional clinical and preclinical projects.
The deal has bolstered Juno’s stock by about 50%; it has risen steadily since rumors of the purchase began brewing. Shares of Juno Therapeutics increased another 27% premarket, following confirmation of the deal’s terms. Celgene is also a major benefactor of the deal, as the company will also be able to capture 100% of the earnings on all CAR-T pipeline assets. Celgene reached a $87-per-share contract with Juno.
Juno CEO Hans Bishop commented on the announcement, noting that the backing by Celgene will help accomplish the shared, overarching goal of pushing live saving drugs to market. “The people at Juno channel their passion for science and patients towards a common goal of finding cures by creating cell therapies that help people live longer, better lives,” he commented. “Continuing this work will take scientific prowess, manufacturing excellence and global reach. This union will provide all three,” continued Bishop.
Celgene CEO Mark Alles echoed this, pointing out that the acquisition “builds on our shared vision to discover and develop transformative medicines for patients with incurable blood cancers.” Alles added that the CAR-T pipeline will be the future of oncology therapies over the next several years and will impact Celgene’s position in pharma. “Juno’s advanced cellular immunotherapy portfolio and research capabilities strengthen Celgene’s global leadership in hematology and adds new drivers for growth beyond 2020,” he said.
The attention to CAR-T is a testament to its overall potential as breakthrough therapies and lead candidates. Companies across the industry are taking notice of cancer immunotherapies and investing heavily in them.
Prior to taking over Juno, Celgene acquired the San Diego based start up company, Impact Bio, which added JAK2 inhibitor candidate fedratinib (currently in development for the treatment of myelofibrosis and polycythaemia vera) to its pipeline.