Eli Lilly buying ImClone for $6.5 billion, companies announce


NEW YORK After weeks of speculation, Eli Lilly will pay $6.5 billion for biotech ImClone Systems, the two companies announced Monday in a joint statement.

Under the deal, Indianapolis-based Lilly will pay $70 per share in cash for the New York-based biotech, which will add as many as three new cancer drugs in phase III testing next year to Lilly’s pipeline. ImClone already promotes the cancer drug Erbitux (ddd) with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which owns 16.6 percent of the company and unsuccessfully tried to acquire it for $62 a share. Bristol markets the drug with Germany’s Merck KGaA, which is independent from the New York-based Merck.

“We are excited about the possibilities of improving outcomes for individual patients and building value for shareholders,” Lilly president and chief executive officer John Lechleiter said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the ImClone team and their partners to ensure a smooth transition.”

ImClone’s impending acquisition was known for several weeks, but ImClone did not disclose the buyer until last week. Bristol initially made a $60-per-share offer for the biotech and later increased it to $62 a share, but ImClone chairman Carl Icahn rejected it as too low.

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