Looking to angle in an a market that is growing fast, Bristol-Myers will spend $2.5 billion to acquire hepatitis C drug developer Inhibitex Inc., which saw its share price double in one day recently on early stage data of a treatment it is developing.
About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have Hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease linked to 12,000 deaths a year. The current two-drug treatment for the virus cures only about 40 percent of people.
The disease, the primary cause of liver transplants in the U.S., is expected to affect an increasingly large percentage of the population as baby boomers age.
There is so much potential, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said late Saturday it would pay a 163 percent premium to the stock's last trading price of $9.87.