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Astex Sued by Shareholder Over $886 Million Otsuka Bid

Astex Pharmaceuticals Inc. was sued by an investor seeking more money for his shares in a planned $886 million takeover by Otsuka Holdings Co.

Astex, a cancer-drug maker based in Dublin, California, said Sept. 5 it agreed to be bought by Tokyo-based Otsuka for $8.50 a share, a 27 percent premium at the time.

“The proposed transaction is the product of a flawed process” and the shares “could be worth double what they’re selling for right now,” Astex investor Stephen Bushansky said in a complaint made public today in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington.

The shares fell 2 percent to $8.58 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading at 2:52 p.m. in New York.

Bushansky asks a judge to halt the buyout and rule that Astex directors violated their duty to get the best possible price.

The company said in an e-mailed statement that the lawsuit is entirely without merit.

Otsuka, which makes the mood-stabilizing drug Abilify, would gain a potential cancer-drug pipeline in the deal. Astex markets Dacogen for leukemia and has another leukemia drug under clinical trial.

The case is Bushansky v. Astex, CA8896, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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