Merck has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for approximately $3.9 billion in cash. Idenix, a biopharma company primarily focused on the development of next-generation oral antiviral therapeutics to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, has three HCV drug candidates in development: two nucleotide prodrugs (IDX21437 and IDX21459) and a NS5A inhibitor (samatasvir). These candidates are being evaluated for potential pan-genotypic fixed-dose combination regimens. The companies expect the transaction to close in 3Q14.
“Idenix has established a promising portfolio of hepatitis C candidates based on its expertise in nucleoside/nucleotide chemistry and prodrug technologies,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “Idenix’s investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, once-daily, all oral, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regimen that has a duration of treatment as short as possible for millions of patients in need around the world.”
“Merck has established a strong legacy of leadership and innovation in treating hepatitis C,” said Ron Renaud, Idenix’s president and chief executive officer. “This agreement creates shareholder value by positioning Idenix’s strong portfolio of candidates for future success with a leading healthcare company with the experience and commitment to develop fixed-dosed combinations with the potential to impact the global burden of hepatitis C.”