Novartis Oncology

Endocyte Inc. (ECYT) agreed to be acquired by Swiss drugs giant Novartis AG (NVS) for $2.1 billion.

The deal values the developer of cancer treatments at $24 a share, a 54% premium to Endocyte's closing price on Wednesday of $15.56.

Novartis will get its hands on Endocyte's promising Lu-PSMA-617, a radioligand treatment that targets prostate cancer by attaching radioactive Lutetium to cancerous cells.

"The proposed acquisition of Endocyte builds on our growing capability in radio-pharmaceuticals, which is expected to be an increasingly important treatment option for patients and a key growth driver for our business," said Novartis Oncology CEO Liz Barrett in a statement. "We are also excited about the opportunity to break into the prostate cancer arena with a near-term product that has the potential to make a meaningful impact for patients in great need of more options."

Endocyte shares rose more than 50% in premarket trading on Thursday to $23.39.

This story first appeared on TheStreet's sister site, The Deal, on Thursday.

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