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January 25, 2011 5:03 PM

S&C, Wilmer on Amgen's Buy of Biovex for Up to $1B

Posted by Irene Plagianos

Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotech company, announced Monday that it’s buying BioVex Group Inc., the maker of an experimental cancer vaccine, for up to $1 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen will pay $425 million in cash up front for the Woburn, Massachusetts company and as much as $575 million more for certain sales milestones. The deal gives Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, a cancer vaccine in late-stage development that’s meant to help the immune system kill off skin cancer cells, Bloomberg reports. The drug is also being studied in head and neck cancer. The BioVex deal is Amgen's largest purchase in seven years, reports Bloomberg.

A New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell team, led by M&A partner Frank Aquila and special counsel Alan Konevsky, advised Amgen. Tax partner Ronald Creamer and executive compensation and benefits partner Matthew Friestedt also worked on the purchase. Aquila serves as regular outside counsel to Amgen; he’s worked on transactions such as the company’s $300 million acquisition of Alantos Pharmaceuticals Holding and its $420 million acquisition of Ilypsaa. In-house lawyers on the deal included Amgen general counsel David Scott, as well as Mark Schlossberg, John Neu, and Michael Mayes.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr provided legal counsel to BioVex. A team led by London corporate partner Timothy Corbett, New York partner Steven Singer, chair of the technology transactions and licensing practice group and cochair of the life sciences group, and Boston corporate and fund formation counsel Brian Neumann worked on the transaction. Corbett has represented BioVex in previous cross-border venture equity and debt financings. 

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