<a href=Bristol-Myers Squibb” height=”445″ src=”https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/static-progressive/bmsheadquarters.jpg” style=”padding: 10px” width=”300″ />Bristol-Myers Squibb has unveiled plans to acquire the hepatitis C specialist Inhibitex in a deal valued at approximately $2.5bn.

US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay $26 per share, representing a 163% premium over its closing price on 6 January, and the Inhibitex board of directors has approved of the deal.

Other shareholders, holding 17% of the company’s common stock, have also entered into agreements with Bristol-Myers Squibb in order to support the merger.

Inhibitex’s lead compound, INX-189, is an oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor currently in Phase II development, having demonstrated high levels of antiviral activity.

The company also has its FV-100 nucleoside inhibitor, used to reduce pain associated with shingles, in a Phase II trial, and humanised monoclonal antibody Aurexis, which is used to treat Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections.

The market for hepatitis C treatments is considered a large growth area, with Gilead Sciences in particular making a strong movement into the area with its $11bn acquisition of Pharmasset in November 2011.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb chief executive Lamberto Andreotti said: "There is significant unmet medical need in hepatitis C. This acquisition represents an important investment in the long-term growth of the company."

Last week, Bristol-Myers Squibb was named as the ‘Best Big Drug Company of 2011’ by business magazine Forbes following a year that saw the company’s share price rise 32%.

Image Caption: Bristol-Myers Squibb headquarters in New York, US.