A PYMNTS Company

Merck To Buy Blood Cancer Biotech Imago For $1.35B

 |  November 21, 2022

Merck has agreed to acquire Imago BioSciences, a California-based biotechnology company focused on bone marrow disorders, for more than $1 billion in cash.

The deal announced Monday values Imago at $1.35 billion, or $36 a share, more than double the stock’s $17.40 closing price on Friday. In July 2021, the biotech company priced shares in an initial public offering at $16 apiece.

Imago’s lead drug, called bomedemstat, is in Phase 2 testing for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms and other bone marrow diseases.

Related: Spain’s Competition Regulator Fines Merck

The deal, which Merck expects to close in the first quarter of 2023, “augments our pipeline and strengthens our presence in the growing field of hematology,” Merck CEO Robert Davis said in a statement.

The deal follows a strategy Davis has pursued since he took over as CEO in 2021. He has been an aggressive dealmaker to prepare for the loss of revenue after patents on the company’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda expire in 2028. Merck bought Acceleron for $11.5 billion last year for a cancer drug called sotatercept. The company has recently inked licensing and partnership deals with Moderna, Orion and Orna Therapeutics.