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Drug Giants Pay Hefty Premiums as Cancer-Drug Race Heats Up

  • Merck shells out $2.7 billion, double market price for ArQule
  • Sanofi bets on immunotherapy with $2.5 billion Synthorx deal
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Sanofi to Buy Synthorx for $2.5 Billion
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Two of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies agreed to pay substantial premiums to acquire smaller cancer-drug makers, underlining the eagerness of the drug giants to add promising treatments to their oncology pipelines.

In separate deals announced Monday, Merck & Co. agreed to buy ArQule Inc., which is developing drugs known as kinase inhibitors, for $2.7 billion, while French drug giant Sanofi agreed to buy Synthorx Inc., a maker of therapies that harness the immune system to fight tumors, for $2.5 billion.