Celgene, with strong Phoenix presence, acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb

January 3, 2019

By Matt Ellsworth

Celgene, which has operated a biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Phoenix for nearly a decade, has been acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for about $74 billion, a merger that creates a global biopharma company with a focus on patients with cancer, inflammatory and immunologic disease, and cardiovascular disease.

The combined company will have nine products with more than $1 billion in annual sales and six expected near-term product launches that provides promise for patients and more than $15 billion in potential revenue, according to the Jan. 3 press release. The release also cites an early-stage pipeline of 50 high-potential assets and expertise in small molecule design, biologics/synthetic biologics, protein homeostasis, antibody engineering, and cell therapy.

New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb and New Jersey-based Celgene did not mention the Phoenix facility in the release.

Janet Spear, plant manager for Celgene’s facility in Phoenix, serves on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, a group with more than 100 Arizona bioscience leaders from the public and private sectors in science, health care, business, academia, and policy that helps oversee Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. The Roadmap, administered by the Flinn Foundation, is Arizona’s long-term strategic plan to advance the biosciences.

Abraxis BioScience Inc., of Los Angeles, which opened the biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Phoenix in 2009, sold to Celgene for $2.9 billion a year later.

In 2010, just after its sale to Celgene, Abraxis was named by the Arizona Bioindustry Association as its Bioscience Company of the Year, and in 2013, Celgene was named by the Arizona Manufacturer’s Council as its Manufacturer of the Year.

Also in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug combination of one of Celgene’s leading therapeutics, Abraxane, with gemcitabine for patients with advance pancreatic cancer. Clinical trials of the drug combination were led by Scottsdale Healthcare (now HonorHealth) and the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute.