Company will gain a late-stage compound for the treatment of actinic keratosis.

LEO Pharma has agreed to acquire Peplin for roughly $287.5 million in cash, or roughly A$342.20. Additionally, LEO will provide Peplin with access to a loan facility to fund ongoing operations until the transaction closes, which is expected to occur by the end of the calendar year.

The purchase price of $16.99 per common share of Peplin stock, or A$1.03 per Peplin CHESS Depositary Interest, represents a 71.67% premium over the company’s closing price yesterday.

Most significantly, the Danish firm, which is focused on dermatology and critical care, gains Peplin’s late-stage candidate, PEP005 gel, for actinic keratosis (AK). Peplin plans to complete Phase III development by the end of this year. An NDA filing is expected in mid-2010.

LEO Pharma discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets drugs globally. It is represented in more than 90 countries and has approximately 3,000 employees, the company points out.

AK is a precancerous skin lesion, and trials are investigating PEP005 use on both head and nonhead locations. Peplin also has a Phase II study with PEP005 gel in superficial basal cell carcinoma and preliminary data in squamous cell carcinoma and cutaneous warts.

Ingenol mebutate, or PEP005, is a compound derived from the sap of Euphorbia peplus, a rapidly growing, readily available plant commonly referred to as petty spurge or radium weed. E. peplus has a long history of traditional use for a variety of conditions, according to the companies, including the topical self-treatment of various skin disorders like skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions.

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