Sanofi-Aventis to buy US oncology products firm TargeGen for $560 million

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis said today that it will buy TargeGen Inc., a US biopharmaceutical company for as much as $560 million as part of the France's largest drugmaker's aim to boost its pipeline of oncology products.

TargeGen is a privately held US biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, California, developing small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of hematological malignancies and certain other disorders.

In addition to TG 101348, the company also has additional tyrosine kinases in pre-clinical development.

The acquisition will give Sanofi-Aventis an experimental treatment for myelofibrosis, a chronic and progressive disorder in which there is a proliferation of certain cells of the bone marrow resulting in bone marrow fibrosis bone marrow disorder that disrupts the body's production of blood cells, causing fatigue and an enlargement of the spleen.

TargeGen had completed Phase 1 and 2 trials last year of the drug TG101348, and more trials are planned for this year, Sanofi said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi-Aventis will make an upfront payment of $75 million upon closing of the transaction and make additional milestones payments at different stages of development of TG 101348.

The total amount of all payments, including the upfront payment, could reach third quarter of 2010 subject to customary approvals.

"The acquisition of TargeGen represents a further significant step to increase our engagement in the field of hematological malignancies," said Marc Cluzel, M.D., Ph.D, executive vice-president, Research & Development, Sanofi-Aventis.