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Why Novartis is going to walk away from its acquisition of MorphoSys

Novartis said Monday that it intends to buy MorphoSys for just under $3 billion. The deal will not close. Six months from now, or sooner, Novartis will walk away — slightly embarrassed but otherwise unscathed — happy to pay a small breakup fee to MorphoSys to avoid owning a drug for myelofibrosis that regulators turned away.

MorphoSys will not fare as well from the breakup. Its future, and that of the drug called pelabresib at the center of the deal, will be thrown into limbo.

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This is all speculation on my part, but it’s supported by separate conversations with two people familiar with pelabresib and the debate inside Novartis over the MorphoSys acquisition. They requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

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