Jazz Pharma to buy Italy's Gentium for $1 billion

Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:38pm EST

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(Reuters) - Ireland-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc (JAZZ.O) said it would buy Italian biotech company Gentium S.p.A. GENT.O for about $1 billion to get access to Defitelio, a drug used for the treatment of a rare liver condition.

Jazz Pharma's shares, which closed at $114.72, were up 8 percent in extended trading.

The $57 per-share deal is at a premium of 2.4 percent over Gentium's Thursday close of $55.65 on the Nasdaq. Gentium shares were up 3 percent in trading after the bell.

In October, the European Commission granted marketing authorization for Defitelio, which is the first drug approved for hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), a rare condition in which some veins in the liver are blocked as a result of cancer therapy given prior to stem cell transplants.

"Because Defitelio is already approved in the EU, the acquisition would add a new orphan product that has potential for short- and long-term revenue generation," Jazz Pharma CEO Bruce Cozadd said in a statement.

Dublin-based Jazz Pharma said it expects to finance the deal with a combination of cash on hand, proceeds from a term loan and borrowings under its credit facility.

The deal, anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2014, is expected to add to Jazz Pharma's adjusted earnings in 2014 and beyond, the company said.

Gentium shareholders representing about 15 percent of the company's shares have agreed to tender their shares at the deal price, Jazz Pharma added.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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