Shire-Baxalta $32B Merger Would Create Powerhouse Rare-Disease Drugmaker

Shire-Baxalta $32B Merger Would Create Powerhouse Rare-Disease DrugmakerShire-Baxalta $32B Merger Would Create Powerhouse Rare-Disease Drugmaker

Big companies used to steer clear of rare-disease drugs because there aren’t enough patients to make them profitable, but that has changed as the market has sustained high prices. In other pharmaceutical news, drug companies launch a cooperative effort to fight cancer, the Supreme Court lets a ruling on deceptive marketing of an anti-psychotic drug stand, and states look at ways to combat high prices.

The Wall Street Journal: Shire Agrees To Buy Baxalta For $32 Billion Shire PLC’s six-month pursuit of Baxalta Inc. ended Monday when the two companies unveiled a $32 billion deal that they said would create the world’s biggest rare-disease drugmaker. News of Dublin-based Shire’s deal for the Illinois company comes amid unease in Washington over U.S. tax policy and corporate growth. (Roland and Rubin, 1/11)

Reuters: Drugmaker Shire To Buy Baxalta For $32B After Six-Month Pursuit Drugmaker Shire Plc (SHP.L) clinched its six-month pursuit of Baxalta International Inc (BXLT.N) on Monday with an agreed $32 billion cash and stock offer, catapulting it to a leading position in treating rare diseases. The London-listed group, which first approached the U.S. company with an all-stock offer in July, won over the maker of treatments for rare blood conditions, cancers and immune system disorders after adding a cash sweetener. (Hirschler and Sandle, 1/11)

Marketplace: Why Rare-Disease Treatments Can Be Big Business Two big drugmakers, Shire PLC and Baxalta Incorporated, announced on Monday that they plan to hook up in a deal valued north of $30 billion. The combined company expects 65 percent of its total revenue to come from rare disease treatments, which would make it a powerhouse in that field. (Baxter, 1/11)

The New York Times: Drug Companies To Try A Unified Front Against Cancer Some leading pharmaceutical companies are joining forces in an effort to speed the testing of new types of cancer drugs that harness the body’s immune system to battle tumors. The cooperative effort, announced on Monday, will include Amgen, Celgene and some smaller companies. The effort, known as the National Immunotherapy Coalition, will try to rapidly test various combinations of such drugs. (Pollack, 1/11)

The Associated Press: High Court Won’t Hear Appeal Over $124M Drug Penalty The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary assessed more than $124 million in penalties for deceptive marketing of an anti-psychotic drug. The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. should pay the penalties for violations of South Carolina law. (1/11)

STAT: State Measures To Slash Drug Prices Face Big Hurdles In California and Ohio, they’re pushing ballot measures that would require state programs — such as Medicaid or prison systems — to pay no more for medicines than the US Department of Veteran Affairs. Beyond receiving a set 24 percent discount from drug makers, the agency is free to negotiate still lower prices for its 151 hospitals and 800 community clinics that serve millions of vets around the country. (Silverman, 1/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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