Allergan to buy Vitae Pharmaceuticals for $639 mn

Allergan Plc yesterday struck a deral to buy Vitae Pharmaceuticals, a US-based clinical-stage biotechnology company that is testing drugs to treat psoriasis, autoimmune disorders, and atopic dermatitis, for $639 million in cash.

Under the terms of the deal that has been approved by the board of both companies,  a subsidiary of Allergan is paying $21 per share, in cash, or a total of approximately $639 million.

The transaction is expercted to close by the end of 2016.

Vitae Pharmaceuticals, based in Pennsylvania, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing drugs that have the potential to transform the treatment of psoriasis, other autoimmune disorders, and atopic dermatitis.

Vitae's lead clinical assets include VTP-43742, an oral RORyt inhibitor currently being studied in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, and VTP-38543, an LXR selective agonist being studied in patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.

Allergan, the maker of Botox,  said that Psoriasis, which affects approximately 7.5 million people in the US, is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting the skin. It causes cells to rapidly multiply and build up on the skin's surface, resulting in red scaly patches that are often itchy and painful.

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition affecting approximately 17.5 million infants, adolescents and adults in the US It is characterised by intense itching and is caused by both inflammation and a breakdown of the skin's barrier function.

''The acquisition of Vitae is a strategic investment for Allergan that adds strength and depth to our innovative medical dermatology franchise," said Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Allergan.

"Vitae has pioneered the discovery and development of highly differentiated first-in-class compounds in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and autoimmune diseases, areas of medicine where innovation is needed for patients," he added.

Founded about 60 years ago, the Dublin-based Allergan is a global specialty pharmaceutical company whose product range includes the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics and dermatology, gastroenterology, women's health, urology and anti-infective therapeutic categories.

Allergan, which spends about 17 per cent or about $1 billion a year of its revenue on research and development of new drugs, has 15,000 employees and 30 manufacturing and distribution facilities around the world, including in China, India, Indonesia and Singapore.