Juno Rises as Celgene Pays $1 Billion to Buy Cancer Stake

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After the Bell: Juno Therapeutics Surges 38% on Celgene Deal.

Shares of Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) surged more than 38% after hours on news that biotech giant Celgene (CELG) is making a big investment in the drug maker. Celgene Corp. put more chips into immunotherapeutics by enlisting Juno Therapeutics Inc. as a partner in a broad, global collaboration to leverage T cell therapies and develop treatments targeting cancer and autoimmune diseases. The companies will focus initially on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor technologies – fields in which Juno amassed a flurry of collaborative deals over the past year. Juno is set to receive an up-front payment of approximately $150 million, and Celgene will purchase approximately 9.1 million of Juno’s common shares (NASDAQ:JUNO) at $93 apiece, raising the price tag for the deal to a cool $1 billion.

The deal also gives Celgene the option to partner in commercializing Juno’s oncology and cell therapy autoimmune product candidates, including CD19- and CD22-directed CAR-T-cell candidates, with only B-Cell Maturation Antigen, or BCMA, excluded as a target in the collaboration. Serendipitously, Seattle-based Juno disclosed earlier Monday that the FDA accepted its investigational new drug application for JCAR017, its CAR, T-cell therapy targeting CD19, in relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or NHL. Juno will retain responsibility for R&D in North American and hold commercialization rights in those territories for programs it originated under the co-development collaboration. Juno will responsible for research and development in North America and will keep commercial rights there, while Celgene will be responsible for the rest of the world.

Celgene also gained co-promotion options, including the eligibility to select two programs – excluding CD19 and CD22 – for a global 50/50 cost- and profit-sharing agreement, except in China. During the 10-year term of the collaboration, the big biotech also will have the right to purchase additional equity in Juno during specified windows and at specified market premiums, potentially taking up to a 30 percent stake in the company.

The transaction was approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to the expiration or termination of applicable waiting periods under antitrust laws and satisfaction of other customary conditions.

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