UPDATE 4-AbbVie boosts cancer drug pipeline with $21 bln Pharmacyclics deal

Thu Mar 5, 2015 2:07pm EST
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* AbbVie to pay $261.25 per share in cash and stock

* Price at 13 pct premium to Pharmacyclics' Wednesday close

* Deal cuts reliance on Humira; expected to close mid 2015 (Adds Breakingviews link)

By Supriya Kurane and Ben Hirschler

March 5 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc is to buy Pharmacyclics Inc for about $21 billion, giving it access to what is expected to be one of the world's top-selling cancer drugs and expanding its reach in the profitable oncology field.

The deal -- the latest example of a big drugmaker swooping on a biotech firm to refill its medicine pipeline -- confounds expectations that Pharmacyclics would sell out to Johnson & Johnson.

AbbVie will pay $261.25 per share in cash and stock, a 13 percent premium to Pharmacyclics stock's closing price on Wednesday. Back in 2008 and 2009, the shares dipped below $1.

The acquisition lessens Chicago-based AbbVie's dependence on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira that accounts for most of its revenue but is expected to start to see sales decline from 2017 or 2018.

AbbVie failed last October to buy Dublin-based Shire Plc for $55 billion after the United States took steps to deter such tax-lowering deals.   Continued...