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US-based Celgene has signed an agreement to acquire biopharmaceutical firm Receptos for around $7.2bn, allowing it to expand its inflammation and immunology (I&I) portfolio.

As part of the deal, Celgene will pay $232.00 per share in cash for Receptos, which is involved in developing therapeutic candidates to treat immune and metabolic diseases.

Celgene chairman and CEO Bob Hugin said: "The Receptos acquisition provides a transformational opportunity for Celgene to impact multiple therapeutic areas.

"This acquisition enhances our I&I portfolio and allows us to leverage the investments made in our global organisation to accelerate our growth in the medium and long-term."

Receptos produces Ozanimod, which is a selective immune-inflammatory modulator of the G protein-coupled receptors sphingosine 1-phosphate 1 and 5 that are part of the sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor range.

According to Celgene, the clinical studies of Ozanimod showed several areas of potential advantage over existing oral therapies to treat ulcerative colitis (UC) and relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), including its cardiac, hepatotoxicity and lymphocyte recovery profile.

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"The Receptos acquisition provides a transformational opportunity for Celgene to impact multiple therapeutic areas."

The Phase III True North trial for the drug is currently underway with results expected in 2018, while Phase III Radiance and Sunbeam RMS trials are ongoing and data are expected to release in the first half of 2017.

Receptos is also involved in developing RPC4046, an anti-interleukin-13 (IL-13) antibody for (EoE), an allergic/immune-mediated orphan disease, as well as other pipeline and pre-clinical stage compounds.

Receptos president and CEO Faheem Hasnain said: "In Celgene, we have found the ideal partner to maximise the potential of Ozanimod and our promising pipeline in order to improve the lives of patients worldwide."

Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete by the end of this year.

Image: Celgene has a diverse pipeline of potential disease-altering medicines and investigational compounds. Photo: courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.