Amgen to buy Micromet for $1.16 billion 

Amgen Inc. said Thursday that it is buying Micromet Inc., a developer of cancer therapies, for $1.16 billion in cash in a bid to boost its oncology pipeline.

Amgen, the world's largest biotech company, is paying $11 per share for Micromet, a premium of 33 percent over the company's closing price Wednesday.

In morning trading, Micromet shares leaped 32 percent, or $2.66, to $10.94. Over the past year, the stock has traded between $4.13 and $8.90.

Founded in Germany and based in Rockville, Md., Micromet is developing an experimental drug currently in mid-stage testing for leukemia. The treatment, called blinatumomab, is also in clinical development for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Amgen said the purchase will give it access to proprietary antibody technology which provides a platform for future research. It will keep Micromet's research and development base in Munich.

Amgen's drugs include Neulasta, for reducing infections in chemotherapy patients, and denosumab, a bone-building drug marketed as Prolia, for treating osteoporosis in women, and in a different dosage as Xgeva, for preventing bone fractures in patients whose cancer has spread to bones.

The deal is Amgen's largest since last year's purchase of BioVex Group, which was worth up to $1 billion including milestone payments.

The deal is also the first one announced since Kevin Sharer announced in December he would retire as chief executive in May. Robert Bradway, president and chief operating officer, will succeed him as chief executive

Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is scheduled to release its quarterly results after the market closes Thursday. Its stock fell 71 cents to $68.50.

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