Irish biopharmaceutical company Jazz Pharmaceuticals has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based Celator Pharmaceuticals for nearly $1.5bn.

With the completion of the acquisition at $30.25 per share in cash, Jazz Pharmaceuticals will add VYXEOS, an investigational product in development as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), to its portfolio.

Celator announced positive results for a clinical trial of the leukaemia drug in mid-March. The data showed that the investigational drug prolonged the lives of the patients.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals chairman and chief executive officer Bruce Cozadd said: "Celator Pharmaceuticals is a strong strategic fit with Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

"VYXEOS will further diversify our product portfolio and is complementary to our clinical and commercial expertise in haematology / oncology."

"VYXEOS will further diversify our product portfolio and is complementary to our clinical and commercial expertise in haematology / oncology.

"As Celator is currently preparing a regulatory submission in the US for VYXEOS, this acquisition would add a new orphan product with the potential for short-term and long-term revenue generation and expansion of our international commercial platform."

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The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Celator Pharmaceuticals chief executive officer Scott Jackson said: "The planned combination of Jazz and Celator is highly complementary, as both companies are dedicated to bringing differentiated therapies to patients who have high unmet medical needs.

"We believe that Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ clinical and commercial expertise in haematology / oncology and existing international infrastructure will help realise the value of VYXEOS as a treatment to patients with AML.

After thoroughly evaluating our strategic options, our board of directors has unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction is in the best interest of our stockholders."

Jazz sells Erwinaze, a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and received FDA approval for its new drug Defitelio in the US, to treat a rare, potentially fatal complication of stem cell transplants.