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Immune Design stock more than triples as it gets acquired by Merck

Merck (MRK) announced today that it will acquire immunotherapy developer Immune Design (IMDZ) for $5.85 per share in cash for an approximate value of $300 million. Shares of Immune Design skyrocketed more than 300% in the pre-market trading, while Merck stock traded flat.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Immune Design. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck will acquire all shares not acquired in the tender through a second-step merger. The deal is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2019.

Also read: Merck Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

“This acquisition builds upon Merck’s industry-leading programs that harness the power of the immune system to prevent and treat disease,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories.

In August 2015, Immune Design entered into clinical collaboration agreements through subsidiaries of Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of two Immune Design immuno-oncology investigative drugs.

Earlier this month, Merck reported Q4 results, which surpassed earnings and revenue estimates of the Wall Street. Sales of Keytruda, the company’s cancer treatment drug, rose 66% in the fourth quarter.

“We believe this agreement creates shareholder value by positioning our technologies and capabilities for long-term success with a leading, research-driven biopharmaceutical company,” said Dr. Carlos Paya, CEO, Immune Design.

Shares of Immune Design hit a new 52-week high after the market opened, while Merck stock opened about a dollar below its 52-week high price of $80.19.


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