RayzeBio Inc. to be acquired by drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb for $4.1B

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RayzeBio Inc., a San Diego-based company that is building a large factory on the northwest side of Indianapolis to make radioisotopes for cancer treatment, has agreed to be acquired by pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb for $4.1 billion.

The two companies jointly announced the acquisition Tuesday morning and said the deal was unanimously approved by both boards.

It marks the latest entry by a large pharmaceutical company into the radioisotope sector, which has a large cluster in central Indiana and is seen as a promising new treatment for cancer.

RayzeBio is completing renovation of an existing warehouse at 5850 W. 80th St., a former delivery station for e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. The company is investing $45 million in the 63,000-square-foot building, which will include modular cleanrooms, mechanical systems and a back-up power system.

It plans to use the location to make Actinium 225, a radioisotope used for targeted therapy for cancer. The product is among a new class of cancer drugs that can be injected into a patient in an outpatient clinic and target tumor cells in a more precise manner than chemotherapy. The company’s radioisotope, also known as RYZ101, is still in late-stage clinical trials.

RayzeBio and Bristol Myers Squibb said they expect the factory to begin production in the first half of 2024.

Under the terms of the deal, Bristol Myers Squibb is buying RayzeBio for $62.50 per share in an all-cash transaction. That represents a premium of 104% over RayzeBio’s closing price of $30.57 on Friday.

RayzeBio has not yet launched any drugs but has a pipeline of experimental products for targeting the treatment of solid tumors, including gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, small cell lung cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and other cancers.

“Radiopharmaceutical therapeutics are already transforming cancer care, and RayzeBio is at the forefront of pioneering the application of this novel modality. We look forward to supporting and accelerating RayzeBio’s preclinical and clinical programs and advancing its highly innovative radiopharmaceutical platform,” Christopher Boerner, CEO of Princeton, New Jersey-based Bristol Myers Squibb, said in written remarks.

Dr. Ken Song, president and CEO of RayzeBio, said that Bristol’s “well-established presence in oncology and deep expertise” in launching treatments on a global scale made it an attractive buyer. “I am excited to see what our team achieves as part of Bristol Myers Squibb,” he said in written remarks.

The announcement is the latest indication that large pharmaceutical companies are jumping into the radiopharmaceutical sector, a hot, new class of drugs that hold the promise of shrinking tumors while limiting damage to health tissues.

Novartis AG, based in Switzerland, is building a $70 million plant near the Indianapolis International Airport to make radiopharmaceuticals to treat various cancers. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. announced in October it was buying Point Biopharma Inc., an Indianapolis maker of radioisotopes with a factory off of Georgetown Road, for $1.4 billion.

Point said in a filing Tuesday morning that about 68% of its shareholders have tendered their shares to Lilly in that deal, which has been delayed for several months due to concern of some large investors. Lilly expects the acquisition to close Wednesday, a company spokesman told IBJ.

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