GSK will buy Bel­lus Health for $2B, set­ting up show­down with Mer­ck

GSK is dish­ing out $2 bil­lion to ac­quire Bel­lus Health, the British phar­ma gi­ant an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing, stok­ing more M&A buzz amid a wide­spread slow­down for biotech deal­mak­ing.

In of­fer­ing $14.75 per share — a 103% pre­mi­um to Bel­lus’ clos­ing price on Mon­day — GSK is buy­ing its way in­to a block­buster ri­val­ry with Mer­ck. For years, Bel­lus Health has built its sto­ry around chal­leng­ing gi­ant Mer­ck in de­vel­op­ing a P2X3 re­cep­tor an­tag­o­nist to treat chron­ic cough. Now, it’s up to GSK to prove Bel­lus’ cam­lip­ix­ant — pro­vid­ed the Phase III da­ta do turn up pos­i­tive.

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