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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Endocyte (ECYT) to be acquired by Novartis (NVS) for $2.1B

  • Endocyte (ECYT) on Thursday announced its $2.1-billion cash sale to Novartis AG (NVS). The deal values Endocyte at $24 per share, representing a 54-percent premium from the firm’s $15.56 Wednesday closing price.
  • Endocyte's radioligand portfolio, currently in mid-stage trials for cancer treatment, will supplement Novartis’ oncology pipeline of 33 candidates. Altogether, the buyer boasts 99 candidates in various stages of development.

    (Bloomberg) -- Loyal investors who stuck with Endocyte Inc. during a three-and-a-half year slump are celebrating today after a Novartis AG buyout offer sent shares of the cancer drug biotech soaring. But those who lost patience in Endocyte are left to wonder what might have been.

    Endocyte rallied more than 1,600 percent in the past 13 months as it advanced its prostate drug candidate -- climaxing on Thursday as Novartis splashed out $2.1 billion on a friendly buyout. The deal came at a 54 percent premium to Wednesday’s close and rewarded a group of sector specialist funds that made big bets on Endocyte, a small Indiana-based drugmaker that’s faced down concern its drug might not be ready for prime time.

    The biggest winner was apparently VenBio Select Advisor LLC, known for making bets across the drug discovery landscape and the largest holder with more than 7 percent of Endocyte as of the latest filing period ended June 30. VenBio bought its entire position only in the first quarter, when Endocyte sold for between $3 and $11, according to Bloomberg data. Novartis offered $24 a share for Endocyte today.

    Boston-based RA Capital Management bought almost an additional 1.8 million shares in the second quarter, and was the second-largest Endocyte holder as of June 30, filings show.

    The value of VenBio and RA Capital’s most recent positions, as reported to the SEC for the second quarter, each rose to about $132 million at Endocyte’s peak on Thursday.

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