Amgen bets on ChemoCentryx’s rare disease drug in $3.7 billion deal

Amgen Inc on Thursday agreed to buy ChemoCentryx Inc (CCXI.O) for $3.7 billion to gain access to a potential blockbuster treatment for inflammatory disorders and beat quarterly revenue estimates on demand for its bone disease drug.

The deal, announced before markets opened, will also hand the company control of at least two experimental therapies for immune disorders, a field in the spotlight following AstraZeneca’s 2020 purchase of Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion.

Amgen has been facing stiff competition for its top-selling arthritis drug, Enbrel, from newer branded treatments and patents for the therapy are expected to expire in 2029.

Sales of Enbrel fell 8% to $1.05 billion in the second quarter.

Still, the drugmaker’s revenue rose 1% to $6.59 billion, lifted by a 13% jump in sales of osteoporosis drug Prolia to $922 million. Analysts’ on average had estimated revenue of $6.53 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The company, which kept its full-year adjusted profit forecast unchanged at between $17 and $18 per share, would pay $52 in cash for each share of ChemoCentryx, a premium of nearly 116% to the target’s last close.

ChemoCentryx’s shares surged to trade just $1 shy of the offer price.

“We view Amgen as a logical partner to take the torch from (ChemoCentryx) and continue the launch of Tavneos,” said SVB Securities analyst Joseph Schwartz.

Approved late last year to treat patients with a rare form of blood vessel inflammation or vasculitis, Tavneos brought in sales of $5.4 million in the first full quarter of its launch.

Vasculitis is caused by an over-activation of the immune system and affects about 40,000 people in the United States, according to ChemoCentryx.

Analysts expect over $1 billion in Tavneos sales by 2027, Refinitiv data shows.