), the Ireland-based drugmaker, said today it will buy Vitae Pharmaceuticals (VTAE
), a U.S.-based biotechnology company, for $21 per share, or $639 million, in cash.
News of the sale rocketed Vitae's share price up to $20.84 by 3 :40 p.m. after seeing the previous day close at $8.10 – and a 52-week low of $4.08. Allergan's stock meanwhile nudged up slightly today to around $244.83 by 3:00 p.m. and with an intraday high of $247.29 – which was still below its 52-week high of $322.68.
The sale was approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close by the end of the year.
Calling the sale a “strategic investment,” Allergan says the buy could potentially bolster its dermatology product offerings, because it will potentially add Vitae's psoriasis and atopic dermatitis drugs that are now undergoing clinical trials for safety and efficacy.
The compound for psoriasis – which if proven effective and safe may provide a once-daily oral dose for the condition – recently completed a Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. The atopic dermatitis topical drug is currently in a Phase-2a “proof-of-concept” clinical trial for safety, tolerability and efficacy for patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.
While Vitae focuses primarily on a handful of drugs in clinical trials for skin conditions and autoimmune disorders, Allergan focuses on treatments for conditions of the central nervous system, eye care, dermatology, gastroenterology, women's health, urology and other therapeutics.