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Glaxo to Buy Vaccine Maker

The company will acquire ID Biomedical for $1.4 billion.
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GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK)

agreed to buy

ID Biomedical

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, a Vancouver-based vaccine maker, for $1.4 billion in a deal that will expand the British drug giant's flu-prevention product line.

Shareholders of ID Biomedical will get C$35 (about $29.45) a share. Glaxo will also take over responsibility for ID Biomedical's net debt, which was $77 million as of June 30. In addition, Glaxo agreed to loan ID Biomedical up to $120 million to repay debt and finance its cash requirements.

Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved Glaxo's flu vaccine Fluarix for U.S. sales during the upcoming flu season. ID Biomedical is currently expanding its Canadian manufacturing facilities, which are expected to produce around 75 million doses a year of the company's Fluviral egg-based flu vaccine beginning in 2007.

Fluviral has been granted fast-track status by the FDA and is eligible for priority review.

Shares of ID Biomedical rose $3.46, or 13%, to $29.46 Wednesday. Glaxo gained 29 cents, or 0.6%, to $50.49.

The takeover plan is the latest in a series of mergers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries in recent months.

Earlier this year,

Novartis

(NVS)

bought Eon Labs and German drugmaker Hexal AG.

Shire Pharmaceuticals

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(SHPGY)

recently bought Transkaryotic Therapies.

Teva

(TEVA)

has offered to acquire

Ivax

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, and

Pfizer

(PFE)

is planning to buy

Vicuron Pharmaceuticals

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.

Last week,

Chiron

(CHIR)

received a buyout offer from Novartis, which owns 42% of the company, but Chiron later said the $40-a-share bid was inadequate.