Acquisition price represents a 53% premium on Millenium’s value at close of trading yesterday.

Takeda Pharmaceutical plans to buy Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion in cash. The proposal is the lastest in a string of deals to step up its franchise and in particular its cancer portfolio.

Takeda bid $25 per Millenium share, valueing the company at almost 53% over its closing price yesterday. Millenium’s stock catapulted forward to open trading at $24.46.

Millenium’s claim to fame is its multiple myeloma drug, Velcade. The company recorded worldwide sales related to this flagship product of over $765 million in 2007, of which it received non-GAAP net income of $86.9 million. While Millenium commercializes Velcade in the U.S., Janssen-Cilag is responsible for the therapy in Europe and the rest of the world, and Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. has Japanese rights. Millennium reported total revenues of $527.52 million for 2007.

The most advanced part of Millenium’s pipeline is represented by extensions to the Velcade franchise. FDA granted the treatment priority review in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma; Velcade is currently marketed in patients who have failed previous therapy. Millenium anticipates to launch the product in this primary setting in the first half of this year. Besides other cancer compounds, Millenium also has developmental candidates targeting various inflammatory conditions.

Takeda expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of this year. Upon completion, Millennium will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and will continue operations in Cambridge, MA, as a stand alone business unit. Takeda believes that this acquisition will enhance earnings from the fiscal year ending March 2010.

Takeda has already had a busy deal-making year, committing to over $2.82 billion in payments to gain various investigational anticancer agents and bolster its business. Earlier this month, Takeda bought Cell Genesys’ late-stage prostate cancer immunotherapy for $50 million and agreed to future fees of $270 million. In February, the firm purchased Japanese rights to a range of Amgen’s clinical compounds in a deal worth over $1 billion with initial payments of $300 million. Takeda also recently ended its joint venture with Abbott and reported that it could potentially pay Abbott up to $1.5 billion.

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