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Pharma stocks: Merck is on a buying spree

Several merger and acquisition deals are being announced in the healthcare sector, the most recent one being the acquisition of Array Biopharma by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). Interestingly, Pfizer’s rival Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) has announced quite a number of deals in the past few months. Let’s look at the companies Merck has acquired or is planning to acquire so far this year.

Tilos

Last week, Merck agreed to acquire privately-held biopharma company Tilos Therapeutics for $773 million, including an upfront payment and contingent milestone payments. Tilos develops therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases.

Peloton

Last month, Merck announced the acquisition of Peloton Therapeutics Inc., a privately-held clinical-stage biopharma company, for $1.05 billion in an upfront payment along with the payment of an additional $1.15 billion on the achievement of regulatory and sales milestones.

Peloton develops novel small molecule therapeutic candidates for the treatment of cancer and other non-oncology diseases. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Antelliq

In April, Merck completed the acquisition of privately-held Antelliq Group for approx. EUR2.1 billion, including debt. Antelliq is now an operating unit within Merck Animal Health. The deal is expected to help complement Merck’s offerings in animal health.

Immune Design

In February, Merck announced its decision to acquire Immune Design for $5.85 per share in cash for a total value of approx. $300 million. This deal gives Merck access to Immune Design’s proprietary technologies GLAAS and ZVex, which help activate the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer and other chronic diseases.

Looking at the trailing 52 weeks, Merck’s shares have gained 35%. The stock has risen 11% so far this year. Shares were up by over 1% in morning hours on Tuesday.      

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