Kenilworth-based Merck has agreed to acquire Immune Design for an approximate value of $300 million. Immune Design is a late-stage immunotherapy company employing next-generation in vivo approaches to enable the body’s immune system to fight disease. The company’s proprietary technologies, GLAAS® and ZVex®, are engineered to activate the immune system’s natural ability to generate and/or expand antigen-specific cytotoxic immune cells to fight cancer and other chronic diseases.
“Scientists at Immune Design have established a unique portfolio of approaches to cancer immunization and adjuvant systems designed to enhance the ability of a vaccine to protect against infection, which could meaningfully improve vaccine development,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “This acquisition builds upon Merck’s industry-leading programs that harness the power of the immune system to prevent and treat disease.”
“Merck has a rich history of discovery and innovation and a strong track record of developing meaningful therapeutics and vaccines,” said Dr. Carlos Paya, president and chief executive officer, Immune Design. “We believe this agreement creates shareholder value by positioning our technologies and capabilities for long-term success with a leading, research-driven biopharmaceutical company.”
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement announced today, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Immune Design. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Immune Design’s outstanding shares, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck will acquire all shares not acquired in the tender through a second-step merger. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2019.
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Merck in this transaction and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as its legal advisor. Lazard acted as financial advisor to Immune Design and Cooley LLP as its legal advisor.
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