Merck to buy Acceleron for about $11.5 bln in rare disease drugs push

Sept 30 (Reuters) – Merck & Co (MRK.N) will buy drugmaker Acceleron Pharma Inc (XLRN.O) for about $11.5 billion, the companies said on Thursday, as the U.S. pharmaceutical giant looks to beef up its portfolio with drugs for rare diseases.

Merck will pay $180 per Acceleron share in cash, representing a premium of about 2.6% to the stock’s closing price on Wednesday, according to Refinitiv data.

The deal gives Merck, which makes the blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, access to a potentially lucrative rare disease drug candidate, sotatercept.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Acceleron focuses on therapeutics that treat cardiovascular and other blood-related disorders. Its sotatercept drug, which is currently in a late-stage study, is aimed at treating a rare cardiovascular disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs.

The market for treatments targeting rare diseases has become lucrative, as drugmakers typically charge higher prices for drugs which serve small patient populations.

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Source: Reuters