Johnson & Johnson to buy Momenta for about $6.5 billion

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) said on Wednesday it would buy Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc (MNTA.O) for about $6.5 billion in cash to bolster its portfolio of treatments for autoimmune diseases.

Momenta shares were up 68% at $51.98 before the bell, just shy of the offer price of $52.20.

The deal gives Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit access to Momenta’s experimental therapy, nipocalimab, being tested for myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in muscles.

“Nipocalimab gives Janssen the opportunity to reach significantly more patients by pursuing indications across many autoimmune diseases,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

The drug is being developed to treat diseases where the body’s own antibodies attack or damage proteins and cells.

J&J reiterated its 2020 adjusted earnings per share forecast and said it expected the deal to close in the second half of 2020.

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