UPDATE 1-Cephalon offers $231 mln takeover of ChemGenex

Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:03pm EDT

* ChemGenex board unanimously supports Cephalon offer

* Bid represents 59 percent premium to ChemGenex shares

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - Cephalon Inc CEPH.O has offered to buy the Australian company ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd CXS.AX for about $231 million, or 225 Australian dollars.

Cephalon's bid "has the unanimous support of the ChemGenex directors," who plan to recommend it to shareholders unless a better offer appears, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

The all-cash bid of 70 Australian cents per share represents a 59 percent premium to the last traded price of ChemGenex shares. Cephalon also is offering 2 Australian cents for every Australian Securities Exchange-listed ChemGenex option.

The Australian company is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to sell the injectable drug Omapro in the United States for chronic myeloid leukemia patients with a specific genetic mutation.

Cephalon in December signed a major partnership deal with Australia's Mesoblast Ltd (MSB.AX) for a variety of potential therapies in cardiovascular and neurological areas, and it also bought a 20 percent stake in the company.

Cephalon is being advised by Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N) Merrill Lynch, and ChemGenex is being advised by Canaccord Genuity. (Reporting by Maria Aspan; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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