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Cephalon Buys Rights to Mesoblast Stem Cell Therapies

Cephalon Inc. took a 20 percent stake in Mesoblast Ltd. and bought the rights to market the Australian company’s adult stem-cell therapies for heart and nervous system conditions in a deal potentially worth more than $2 billion.

Mesoblast jumped 22 percent to a record A$4.05 in Australian trading after Cephalon said it will pay $220 million for the stake. Frazer, Pennsylvania-based Cephalon also will give Mesoblast as much as $1.7 billion in milestone payments as the therapies clear regulatory hurdles toward commercialization, the companies said in a statement yesterday.