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Vertex to buy Alpine Immune Sciences for $4.9 billion

Vertex Pharmaceuticals will buy Alpine Immune Sciences, a maker of protein-based medicines that harness the immune system, for $4.9 billion, the companies announced Wednesday.

The acquisition gives Vertex a drug called povetacicept, which has shown promise in treating IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disorder of the kidney that can lead to end-stage renal disease and affects 130,000 people in the U.S. The drug will enter Phase 3 clinical development in the second half of the year.

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“Alpine is a compelling strategic fit for Vertex and furthers our ambition of using scientific innovation to create transformative medicines targeting serious diseases with high unmet need in specialty markets,” said Vertex CEO Reshma Kewalramani in a statement.

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