Amgen Inc agreed to buy drug developer Micromet Inc. in a $1.16 billion deal aimed to bolster its oncology drug development pipeline.

Amgen gets Micromet BiTe technology

The world’s largest biotechnology company Amgen said on Thursday it would pay $11 per share in cash for Micromet in a tender offer, which represents a nearly 33 percent premium to Micromet’s closing price on Wednesday. The boards of both companies have approved the deal.  The Rockville, MD-based Micromet surged 32% to $10.94 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Micromet was founded by a group of scientists from the University of Munich in 1993. With its research and development facilities in Munich, the integrated biotech firm is developing potential new treatments for cancer and other conditions based on its  BiTE (Bi-specific T cell engager) technology, which was designed to program the body’s immune system to kill tumor cells that are normally hard to recognize.

Micromet’s lead drug candidate is blinatumomab (MT103), an antibody under five clinical studies for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults and pediatric patients (Phase I/II) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in adult patients (Phase I).

Last July, Amgen and Micromet have signed a drug development collaboration deal, which is worth upto 352 million euro to Micromet.   The acquisition deal now enables Amgen put blinatumomab into its oncology pipeline. Amgen will also take over Micromet’s research hub in Munich.

“The Micromet team has done a fantastic job of building this platform, which basically takes the existing cytotoxic T- cells that exist in all of us, that are the most powerful killing cells in our immune system, and redirects them to kill tumor cells,” said Roger Perlmutter, head of research and development at Amgen, “They’ve exemplified that with blinatumomab.”  Perlmutter also mentioned the results of a small clinical trial of blinatumomab in leukemia, released in December, were promising.

Micromet also has R&D partnerships with Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer Schering Pharma for the development of new cancer drugs based on its BiTE technology.