SciClone Pharmaceuticals said today it agreed to be acquired for approximately $605 million by a consortium of Chinese investors, asserting that the deal would not only benefit shareholders but offered the best option for the company to continue operating in China.

The buyer consortium consists of entities affiliated with GL Capital Management, Bank of China Group Investment, CDH Investments, Ascendent Capital Partners, and Boying Investments.

Headquartered in Foster City, CA, SciClone is a specialty pharma focused on developing and marketing drugs in China. Its product portfolio includes treatments in oncology, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disorders.

The company’s lead product Zadaxin® (thymalfasin), marketed since 1996, is approved in more than 30 countries for indications that include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and some types of cancers, as well as an immune system enhancer.

SciClone also markets in China seven oncology treatments under licenses with Western pharmas—Endoxan®, Holoxan™, and Mesna™ (Baxter); Estracyt™, Farlutal™, and methotrexate (Pfizer); and DC Bead® (BTG).

“The challenges of continuing to operate as an independent U.S.-based, publicly traded company in the complex, competitive, and increasingly price-sensitive China pharmaceuticals market represent long-term risks to the Company's ability to maintain a strong growth trajectory and to meet its financial objectives,” Jon S. Saxe, J.D., L.L.M., chairman of SciClone's board of directors, said in a statement.

Added SciClone CEO Friedhelm Blobel, Ph.D.: “We believe that SciClone has reached the stage where its long-term future and strategic path forward can best be realized as part of a corporate entity based in and managed from China.”

Publicly traded SciClone finished the first quarter with net income of $14.596 million, up 86% from the year-ago quarter, on total net revenues that rose 17.5% from Q1 2016, to $42.892 million. The company finished last year with net income of $30.729 million, up 4.3% from 2015, on revenues that rose 1.8% over the previous year, to $160.096 million.

SciClone has projected 2017 revenue of between $170 and $175 million, and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of between $0.60 and $0.64.

The buyer consortium agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of SciClone for $11.18 per share cash, a premium of 11% over SciClone's closing stock price yesterday, and a premium of 16% over its 10-day volume-weighted average closing stock price.

The acquisition is expected to close this calendar year, SciClone said, subject to approval by the company’s stockholders and other customary closing conditions.

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