A PYMNTS Company

Merck In $40B Deal For Cancer Biotech SeaGen

 |  July 7, 2022

Bothell-based Seagen may be acquired by pharma giant Merck in a deal valued at $40 billion. The companies are now reportedly nearing the biopharma world’s largest deal since 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. 

Talks started in late June, and the acquisition could happen within the next few weeks, according to The Journal. Seagen, previously known as Seattle Genetics, is Washington state’s largest biotechnology company.

Reached by The Seattle Times, Seagen declined to comment on the possible acquisition. There is no guarantee the two companies will reach a deal. But if they do, it could be the year’s largest health care acquisition. The possible acquisition value also falls just below Elon Musk’s Twitter bid of $44 billion.

Should the merger take place at the quoted figure of $40 billion, it would be the largest transaction involving a drugmaker in about three years after AbbVie’s June 2019 Allergan acquisition. It would edge out AstraZeneca’s $39 billion acquisition of rare disease specialist Alexion last year. 

Challenges to the merger are expected to come from various antitrust authorities given the current enforcement climate, which has focused on corporate concentration and concerns over price-gouging following the COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread economic consequences, whose ripples are still being felt worldwide. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has indicated that further consolidation in the biopharma sector deserves a more careful look, drawing a link between mergers and rising drug prices. 

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.