$7.2bn deal further strengthens Celgene’s position in immunology

Acquisitive US biotech Celgene has agreed to buy compatriot Receptos for $7.2 billion (£4.6 billion) in cash. The deal gives Celgene access to Receptos’s pipeline of inflammation and immunology treatments, including ozanimod – currently in Phase III clinical trials for treating ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ozanimod is a sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator, which acts to suppress the auto-immune responses that cause diseases like colitis and MS. If approved, it would be available in an oral dosage form, representing a significant advantage over leading MS antibody drugs such as Biogen and Elan’s Tysabri (natalizumab), which is administered by monthly infusion.

The deal is the latest in a series from Celgene, which has cut deals across various immunology-related sectors, including billion-dollar partnerships with cancer specialists Juno and OncoMed.