Deciphera Pharmaceuticals is set to be acquired in a $2.4bn buyout, as the biopharma announced that it has commenced a definitive merger agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical.

Under the terms of the offered transaction, Ono will make a cash purchase of all outstanding shares of Deciphera’s common stock at $25.60 per share and subsequently merge Deciphera with a wholly owned subsidiary of Ono upon the deal’s completion. The deal has been unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to close in Q3 2024.

Following the announcement of the acquisition, Deciphera’s stock has jumped 71.9%.

Massachusetts-based Deciphera brings to the table an extensive kinase inhibitor pipeline, kinase drug discovery expertise, and a strong commercial and sales platform in the US and European markets that is meant to advance Ono’s capabilities and presence in the oncology space.

Upon the successful completion of the acquisition, Ono will gain access to Deciphera’s macrophage colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1) inhibitor vimseltinib, the ULK kinase inhibitor DCC-3116, and several other oncology candidates. Deciphera also brings Qinlock (ripretinib), a fourth-line switch-control inhibitor, which was approved by the  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) in May 2020.

According to GlobalData’s consensus forecasts, vimseltnib is projected to bring in global sales of $272m in 2030 while Qinlock is expected to generate global total sales of $398m in 2030. GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

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“Deciphera and Ono share a deep commitment to improve the lives of people living with cancer, and the transaction announced today enables us to make even greater impact for patients,” said Deciphera CEO Steven Hoerter in the 29 April press announcement.

The latest move by Ono follows a string of successful collaborations carried out by the Japan-based pharma company. In September 2023, Ono signed a drug discovery collaboration agreement with Adimab for the development of new therapeutic antibody drugs for multiple targets, including in oncology. Soon after, in December 2023, Ono entered a collaboration agreement with EVQLV to develop new antibody agents using the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-powered antibody design engine.

Ono has continued to ramp up activity in antibodies and oncology by entering an option and partnership agreement with Numab Therapeutics in February 2024. The partnership will see the development and commercialisation of multi-specific macrophage engager NM49 for oncology purposes. In the same month, Ono agreed to partner with Epsilon Molecular Engineering (EME) to advance the discovery of variable heavy domains of heavy chain (VHH) antibodies for new therapies.