Ireland's Jazz Pharma close to buying US rival Celator for about $1.5 bn

Irish biopharmaceutical company Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc is close to buying US-based Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc. for about $1.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Under the deal, which could be announced as early as today, Jazz Pharmaceuticals is paying a huge premium for a company that has no revenue but a promising leukemia drug, the report said.

Celator currently has a market value of about $740 million.

Celator is an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company that develops therapies to treat cancer.

The company focuses on CombiPlex, a drug ratio technology platform that enables to the development of combination therapies. Its products include CPX-1, a treatment for colorectal cancer, and CPX-351 (Vyxeos), a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.

Princeton, New Jersey-based Celator was formerly known as Celator Technologies, Inc. and was founded in 2000.

Jazz has earlier based in California, but shifted its base to Dublin in 2012 after it acquired Irish pharma company Azur Pharma,

Dublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company with a diverse portfolio of products and product candidates focusing in the areas of sleep and hematology / oncology.

It has two cancer drugs, Erwinaze, for the treatment for a blood cancer known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and US FDA approved Defitelio, a treatment for adults and children having hepatic Veno-Occlusive Disease with renal or pulmonary dysfunction following hematopoietic stem-cell transplants.

It has a market cap of about $9 billion and had nearly $1 billion in cash as of 31 March, according to the report.