Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire cancer treatments developer

NEW YORK Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb said it plans to carve a niche for itself in the biotech world by acquiring a developer of cancer treatments.

The New York pharmaceutical giant announced Wednesday that it would acquire Medarex, along with the Princeton, N.J.-based biotech company’s UltiMAb monoclonal antibody development platform and full rights to ipilimumab, a treatment for melanoma currently in late-stage clinical trials.

“We believe that this combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global leader in oncology, provides an excellent opportunity to realize the full potential of Medarex’s development portfolio and our UltiMAb technology platform through the transaction which also provides an attractive valuation for our shareholders,” Medarex chairman and CEO Howard Pien said in a statement. “Medarex has evolved significantly over the past two decades from a research platform to a development company.”

The UltiMAb platform has been used to develop treatments including Johnson & Johnson’s autoimmune disease treatment Simponi (golimumab), its psoriasis drug Stelara (ustekinumab) and Novartis’ cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome drug Ilaris (canakinumab).