Merck is expanding its portfolio by buying a US pharmaceutical company

New Jersey: Merck said Thursday it will buy drug developer Pandion Therapeutics Inc. for $ 1.85 billion in cash to expand its portfolio of drugs targeting autoimmune diseases.

The $ 60 deal per share represents a premium of about 134% of Pandion’s closing price on Wednesday.

Pandion shares rose 131.6% to a record high of $ 59.37 before the bell, while Merck shares were up nearly 1%.

The leading candidate for Pandion, PT101, achieved its key safety and tolerability goals last month in an early phase of trials in patients with autoimmune diseases.

In November, Merck agreed to buy privately owned VelosBio for $ 2.75 billion to boost its cancer drug portfolio as the pharmaceutical company looks to reduce its reliance on the pioneering cancer treatment Keytruda.

The two companies said in a joint statement that the deal between Merck and Pandion is expected to end in the first half of 2021.

Merck represented Credit Suisse Securities, Covington & Burling, while Centerview Partners LLC, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP represented Pandion.

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