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Amgen to pay about $700 million for Turkish drug maker

April 25, 2012|Bloomberg News

Amgen Inc. agreed to buy closely held Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals for almost $700 million to expand in Turkey, where economic growth is boosting demand for medicines.

Amgen will pay cash to get 95.6% of Mustafa Nevzat, or MN Pharmaceuticals as the Istanbul generic-drug maker is known, the companies said Wednesday. The transaction will boost Amgen's presence in a region that has "large, fast-growing, priority markets," they said.

Amgen is seeking to shore up revenue as its former core anemia franchise declines. In the last few months, the Thousand Oaks company has acquired Micromet Inc. for $1.16 billion to add an experimental leukemia drug, signed a development deal with AstraZeneca and boosted its presence in the cancer market through sales of the bone drug Xgeva.

"Amgen's focus on Turkey and the surrounding region is part of a broad international expansion strategy," the company said in the statement.

Amgen shares rose $1.56, or 2.3%, to $70.19.

Turkey has been a popular target for deals in recent years, with companies seeking to tap its $772-billion economy, which grew 8.5% last year. Zentiva, a Czech drug maker bought by Sanofi in 2009, acquired 75% of the generic-drug unit of Turkey's Eczacibasi in 2007 and later purchased the remaining 25% stake.

MN is the leading supplier of pharmaceuticals to hospitals in Turkey and had sales of about $200 million last year, according to the statement. It was the first Turkish pharmaceutical company to win a license from the Food and Drug Administration to sell products in the U.S., according to the company's website.

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