AbbVie completes $21-billion acquisition of Pharmacyclics

AbbVie on Tuesday announced that it completed the purchase of Pharmacyclics for $261.25 per share in cash and stock, or approximately $21 billion, gaining rights to the cancer drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib). AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzales said "the companies' shared expertise, combined with AbbVie's broad late-stage oncology pipeline, has the potential to transform the cancer treatment landscape for haematological malignancies and improve patient outcomes and quality of life."

Under the terms of the transaction, Pharmacyclics will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AbbVie and maintain its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Former AbbVie head of global marketing Wulff-Erik von Borcke will serve as president of Pharmacyclics.

AbbVie reached an agreement to purchase Pharmacyclics after abandoning a proposal to purchase Shire last year for about $55 billion following changes to US tax rules designed to make tax inversion deals more difficult to complete.

However, Gonzales had to defend the price of Pharmacyclics' acquisition, which analysts questioned. Gonzales noted that Imbruvica, which has been cleared for four indications in the US, including its approval for the treatment of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia in January, could amass $7 billion in annual revenue.

Imbruvica has also been approved in nearly 50 other countries, where it is marketed by Johnson & Johnson under the terms of a 2011 agreement.

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