Why Merck (MRK) Is Buying Imago BioSciences (IMGO) For $1.35 Billion

By Amit Chowdhry ● Nov 21, 2022
  • Merck (NYSE: MRK) announced it is buying Imago BioSciences (IMGO) for $1.35 billion. These are the details.

Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Imago BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMGO) announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire Imago for $36.00 per share in cash for an approximate total equity value of $1.35 billion.

Imago is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other bone marrow diseases. And Imago’s lead candidate bomedemstat (IMG-7289), an investigational orally available lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) inhibitor, is currently being evaluated in multiple Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of essential thrombocythemia (ET), myelofibrosis (MF), and polycythemia vera (PV), in addition to other indications.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Merck (through a subsidiary) will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Imago. And the closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Imago’s outstanding shares.

Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck’s acquisition subsidiary will be merged into Imago and any remaining shares of common stock of Imago will be canceled and converted into the right to receive the same $36 per share price payable in the tender offer. And the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.

KEY QUOTES:

“We continue to invest in our pipeline with a focus on applying our unique capabilities to unlock the value of breakthrough science for the patients we serve. This acquisition of Imago augments our pipeline and strengthens our presence in the growing field of hematology.”

— Robert M. Davis, president and chief executive officer, Merck

“This milestone is a testament to more than a decade of pioneering research by Imago scientists and the entire Imago team’s unwavering dedication to improving the lives of patients. This agreement leverages Merck’s industry-leading clinical development expertise to maximize the therapeutic potential of bomedemstat while providing important value for shareholders. I would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the early investors – Blackstone Life Sciences, Frazier Healthcare, Omega Funds, Amgen Ventures, and MRL Ventures Fund who placed their faith in Imago beginning in 2014, as well as the outstanding study investigators and their patients who have made the clinical development of bomedemstat possible.”

— Dr. Hugh Y. Rienhoff, Jr., Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Imago BioSciences

“Evidence indicates that LSD1 plays an important role in the maturation of blood cells in the bone marrow. We look forward to working with the Imago team to further investigate the potential of bomedemstat for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.”

— Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories