Celgene Corp in talks to buy Juno Therapeutics

US biotechnology company Celgene Corp is in talks to buy Juno Therapeutics Inc, in order to get the target's experimental gene therapy drug to treat cancer, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

A successful transaction would be Celgene's second big deal of 2018 after it offered to buy cancer drug maker Impact Biomedicines for as much as $7 billion in order to acquire fedratinib, a kinase inhibitor that has shown promise as a potential treatment for a type of blood cancer called myelofibrosi. (See: Celgene to Acquire Impact Biomedicines for upto $7 bn)

Juno Therapeutics had a market value of around $5.2 billion on Tuesday, but jumped by 42 per cent following The Wall Street Journal report.

Celgene is familiar with Seattle-based Juno and had invested $1billion in 2015 in the company to gain the rights to revenues from some of its drugs.

Juno Therapeutics was founded in 2013 through a collaboration of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and pediatrics partner Seattle Children's Research Institute.

Juno has been working on Car-T, which harnesses the body's own immune cells to recognize and attack malignant cells, according to Reuters.

But the company had a series of setbacks after several deaths during clinical trials in 2016 which forced it to abandon work on its most advanced product.

Celgene, based in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetics.