(Reuters) - Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, agreed on Wednesday to buy Scandinavian biopharmaceutical company Nuevolution AB for 1.61 billion Swedish crowns ($166.8 million) to boost its position in drug discovery.
Copenhagen-headquartered Nuevolution said its board unanimously recommended Amgen’s cash offer of 32.5 Swedish crowns per share, a premium of 168.6% to Nuevolution’s closing price on Tuesday.
Nuevolution has a patent protected drug research platform to identify small-molecule drug candidates to be taken as pills against cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Most new drugs in these therapeutic areas are currently based on large proteins made from genetically modified living cells which need to be injected and are expensive to manufacture.
Nuevolution has partnered with pharma majors including Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co, according to its website.
The company was founded in 2011 and employs 40 full-time professionals.
Amgen, which is grappling with competition to its new migraine treatment Aimovig and cholesterol fighter Repatha, said it had collaborated with Nuevolution since 2016 and that it had exercised opt-in rights for two cancer treatment approaches that have emerged from the alliance.
At 0850 GMT, Nuevolution shares were up 165% at 32.1 crowns
Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Mark Potter