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Abbott To Buy Facet Biotech For $722 Million, Adding To Pipeline

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Abbott Laboratories (ABT) will bulk up its product pipeline with a $722 million deal that will finally send Facet Biotech Corp. (FACT) walking down the aisle after it rebuffed development partner Biogen Idec's (BIIB) overtures last year. Biotechnology company Facet had been soliciting suitors since rejecting that offer, which last stood at $17.50. Facet shareholders will get a bigger dowry from Abbott--$27 a share, two-thirds above the company's closing price. "We believe this transaction provides full and fair value for our stockholders and validates the potential of Facet's clinical and technology assets, all of which has resulted from the effort and dedication of our employees," said Faheem Hasnain, president and chief executive of Facet. The company had repeatedly said Biogen's offer undervalued Facet and its prospects. Facet's key compounds include daclizumab--a Phase II investigational biologic being developed with Biogen to treat multiple sclerosis that is expected to move into Phase III development in the second quarter--and oncology compounds in early- to mid-stage development with other partners. "Daclizumab is a promising treatment for multiple sclerosis, a disease that has a significant unmet medical need, and has the potential to become an important treatment option for patients," said John Leonard, Abbott's senior vice president of global pharmaceutical research and development. Abbott put the net transaction value at $450 million, after subtracting Facet's cash and marketable securities on hand. Abbott shares were down 0.6% at $54.45 in after-hours trading. The stock is up 17% over the past year. -By Jay Miller, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2355;

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