According to Bloomberg sources, AbbVie topped Johnson & Johnson with a last-minute bid to finalize the $21 billion acquisition of Pharmacyclics. to give the firm control of likely best-in-class blood cancer therapy Imbruvica.

Chicago-based AbbVie has agreed to pay $261.25 a share in a mix of cash and stock. According to the sources, Pharmacyclics was nearing an agreement to be acquired by J&J, which was offering about $250 a share, before AbbVie came up with a higher bid.

AbbVie Snapping Up Pharmacyclics For $21 Billion

Statement from AbbVie CEO

AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez noted in a statement that “Imbruvica is not only complementary to AbbVie’s oncology pipeline, it has demonstrated strong clinical efficacy across a broad range of hematologic malignancies.”

More on Pharmacyclics

Pharmacyclics had a net income last year of more than $86 million, based on Bloomberg data. According to an average of analyst estimates, sales of Imbruvica are expected to increase rapidly to $3.56 billion in 2018 from just $492 million last year.

The company has guided for U.S. sales of Imbruvica to surpass $1 billion in 2015, and by 2020 global sales of the cancer drug are anticipated to top $5.8 billion, based on consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters Cortellis.

AbbVie management noted that the deal would be “highly accretive” to both  its revenue and earnings by 2017.

California-based Pharmacyclics co-markets Imbruvica with pharma giant Johnson & Johnson. As well as Imbruvica, the firm has three drug candidates in clinical trials.

Perspective from analyst

Imbruvica will  compete with one of AbbVie’s top pipeline products, cancer drug ABT-199, but there should be market share for both compounds, notes Asthika Goonewardene from Bloomberg Intelligence. ABT-199 may not be approved for more than a year, and while Imbruvica is becoming the gold standard, some patients may benefit from a different therapy. “Given all this, having two dogs in the race may not be a bad thing,” Goonewardene explained in an e-mail interview.