Amgen to pay $1B for firm developing head/neck cancer drug

Biotechnology giant Amgen has agreed to acquire BioVex Group, a privately held biotechnology company that is developing OncoVex, a novel oncolytic vaccine to treat head and neck cancer and melanoma.

Under terms of the agreement, Amgen will pay up to $1 billion for BioVex: $425 million in cash at closing and up to $575 million in additional payments upon the achievement of certain regulatory and sales milestones. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of each company and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

"OncoVex has demonstrated encouraging antitumor activity in clinical studies for the treatment of melanoma and head and neck cancer, and BioVex is currently enrolling patients into pivotal phase III trials in both indications," said Roger Perlmutter, MD, PhD, Amgen's executive vice president of research and development, in a press release.

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