Merck & Co Inc is going to acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc for USD 8.4 billion plus assumption of debt, offering the major drugmaker an excellent opportunity to enter into the market with drugs that attack so-called superbugs.
After a 2013 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing the possible threats of superbugs, pharma companies like Merck and its British rival AstraZeneca Plc have turned their attention to newer kinds of antibiotics that can target them.
Superbugs are bacterial strains that are resistant to different types of antibiotics.
According to the CDC estimates, more than two million Americans fall sick from such infections every year and at least 23,000 give up their lives due to the illness.
Announcing the deal on Monday, Merck said that the agreement is expected to add over USD 1 billion to revenue next year after closing in the first quarter.
After the deal, Merck will gain the accessibility to Cubist’s antibiotic Cubicin.
Cubist sales in the third-quarter increased 16 percent, thanks to the strong sales of Cubicin.
Cubist is currently working on its lead drug, Ceftolozane/Tazobactam, for treating complicated urinary tract infections.
The company is widely expecting green signal from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this month.
Merck will pay USD 102 per share for Cubist.
The Cubist deal is the second big acquisition of Merck’s this year. In June this year, it has acquired Idenix Pharmaceuticals for USD 3.85 billion in an attempt to encourage its hepatitis C drug portfolio.