Japanese drugmaker Eisai said Monday it would pay $3.9 billion in cash to buy Bloomington, MN,-based MGI Pharma.
The deal marks the largest acquisition of a foreign firm of any kind by a Japanese company so far this year, according to data tracker Thomson Financial.
Faced with major patent expiries in the US, Eisai is seeking to boost its product line.
Eisai's Aricept for Alzheimer's, which had sales of around $800 million in 2006, will lose patent protection in 2010, and has left the company looking for other drugs to fill the hole.
MGI Pharma makes Aloxi, an injection for cancer patients to help prevent post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting. It also sells injectable Dacogen for the treatment of bone marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome, the Gliadel Wafer for brain cancer, and Hexalen, a chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer. MGI Pharma reported 2006 sales of $342.8 million.