J&J to buy Aragon Pharmaceuticals for up to $1 billion

Aragon to spin off assets other than drug-development program into new company

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Drug maker Johnson & Johnson plans to spend up to $1 billion to acquire a privately owned company developing a drug for prostate cancer.

J&J said Monday it would acquire Aragon Pharmaceuticals for $650 million upfront plus up to $350 million in milestone payments, with the expectation that the deal will close in third quarter 2013.

Among the drugs under development at Aragon is ARN-509, currently in mid-stage clinical trials for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Before the deal closes, Aragon plans to transfer all of its assets other than the program to develop drugs like ARN-509 to a new spinoff company, in which J&J will not have any ownership stake. According to published reports, the new company will be called Seragon Pharmaceuticals and will be run by Aragon president and CEO Richard Heyman.

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