Bristol Myers to Acquire the Drugmaker Karuna for $14 Billion

Bristol Myers to Acquire the Drugmaker Karuna for $14 Billion

Bristol Myers Squibb, the global pharmaceutical giant, said on Friday that it would acquire Karuna Therapeutics, which makes drugs to treat schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, in an all-cash deal valued at $14 billion as it looks to strengthen its pipeline of neuroscience drugs.

Bristol Myers said in a statement that it would pay $330 per share in cash, a premium of roughly 53 percent to Karuna’s share price on Thursday.

An increasing prevalence of schizophrenia, driven in part by an aging population, has led to a push to make more drugs to treat it. The market for such therapies is estimated to grow to $12.6 billion by 2032, according to the research firm Market.Us. Earlier this month, the biomedical company AbbVie bought Cerevel Therapeutics, which develops drugs to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease for about $8.7 billion.

Karuna’s big bet on schizophrenia is the drug KarXT, which the Food and Drug Administration has accepted for review. The company said it expected to begin marketing the drug in September 2024, pending regulatory approval.

“We expect KarXT to enhance our growth through the late 2020s and into the next decade,” Christopher Boerner, the chief executive of Bristol Myers Squibb, said in a statement.

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the deal. Shares of Bristol Myers Squibb rose 2.5 percent in early trading, while Karuna’s stock jumped nearly 50 percent.

Bristol’s other schizophrenia drugs have included the drug Abilify. In recent years, it has also been doubling down on developing cancer drugs, and to that end acquired Celgene, a maker of the blockbuster Thalomid and Revlimid cancer medicines, for $74 billion in 2019.

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Jonas P. Jones

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