Celgene buys stake in Australia's Mesoblast in hunt for cutting-edge candidates

Eager to expand further into cutting-edge therapy areas, Australia's Mesoblast and U.S.-based Celgene ($CELG) entered into an investment and development deal for cancer and immune-inflammatory related diseases that also covers stem cell product candidates.

Celgene paid A$3.85 a share for 15.3 million ordinary Mesoblast shares, or 4.5%, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in a deal valued at A$58.5 million ($45 million). The shares closed on Monday at A$3.99, up more than 24% on the day.

Celgene also gains right-of-first-refusal for 6 months over the proprietary mesenchymal lineage adult stem cell product candidates from Mesoblast. That covers the prevention and treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease, certain oncologic diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and organ transplant rejection, according to a press release.

Last week, Mesoblast said it intends to expand the Phase III clinical program of candidate MPC-06-ID for low back pain due to degenerative disc disease to include sites in the European Union after feedback from the EMA.

Celgene is on the hunt for new products with the core of earnings now driven by multiple myeloma therapy, Revlimid, that accounted for $4.98 billion of the total $7.67 billion in 2014 revenue.

- here's the Mesoblast release (PDF)
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