Daiichi Sankyo agrees to acquire Ambit for $410 million

Daiichi Sankyo Co. has reached a takeover deal with Ambit Biosciences Corp. worth $410 million, a move that will expand Japan’s second largest drugmaker’s portfolio of cancer medications.

Daiichi Sankyo will pay $15 for each Ambit share in cash, the company told the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday.

If certain milestones are reached, Ambit shareholders will have the right to receive up to $4.50 per share in additional payments.

Ambit Biosciences Corporation, based in San Diego, California, focuses on the discovery and development of medications to treat unmet medical needs in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and oncology. Its molecules inhibit enzymes that are important drivers for those diseases.

Ambit’s experimental drug, quizartinib, for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), is in late-stage trials. Experts believe the drug will eventually be approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), its European equivalent and those of other major markets.

Joji Nakayama

Joji Nakayama says the acquisition strengthens Daiichi Sankyo’s presence in oncology.

AML is the most common kind of acute leukemia in adult patients. It represents over one third of all cases.

Michael A. Martino, President and CEO, Ambit Biosciences, said regarding the deal:

“Daiichi Sankyo is the ideal organization to take quizartinib to the next stage of development, and ultimately, to achieve our goal of making it available as quickly as possible to help as many AML patients as possible. This attractive offer to shareholders, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Ambit team to our mission of developing innovative therapies for areas of high unmet medical need.”

Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. President and CEO, Joji Nakayama, said:

“The acquisition of Ambit Biosciences further builds our presence in oncology to ensure we are delivering on our goal of providing world-class, innovative pharmaceuticals in core areas of unmet medical need. Long-term success in oncology depends upon three pillars: fostering development of our in-house molecules, exploring mutually beneficial partnerships and executing strategic purchases, such as Ambit Biosciences, which follows our acquisitions of U3 Pharma and Plexxikon.”

The acquisition was unanimously approved by Ambit’s board of directors.

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