Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Merck in advanced talks to buy Acceleron Pharma - WSJ

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The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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Sept 27 (Reuters) - Merck & Co (MRK.N) is in advanced talks to acquire drugmaker Acceleron Pharma Inc (XLRN.O), the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A potential deal could help Merck, which sells the blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, to add drugs for rare diseases to its pipeline.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Acceleron focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics to treat blood-related disorders. It had a market capitalization of $10.89 billion, as of its last close.

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A Bloomberg report on Friday said Acceleron was in talks to be acquired for more than $11 billion. Bloomberg had reported that several drugmakers including Merck's rival Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N), which owns 11.5% of Acceleron's stock, were seen as potential suitors.

Acceleron currently earns royalties from sales of Reblozyl, a drug to treat two blood related disorders, and is developing another treatment for a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs.

Reblozyl, which is jointly co-promoted by Bristol and Acceleron, brought in sales of $274 million in 2020, according to Bristol Myers.

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Reporting by Uday Sampath and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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