San Diego’s NovaCardia, a developer of drugs for cardiovascular disease, agreed to sell itself to Merck for $350 million.

The specialty pharmaceutical company has in-licensed two drugs from other drug makers, one to treat kidney problems in heart failure patients and another for atrial fibrillation. The heart-failure drug, KW-3902, should enter a late-stage trial this year; the atrial-fibrillation drug, meanwhile, is slated to enter mid-stage trials this year.

Actually, I take that back — KW-3902 has already completed one “pilot” late-stage trial, which is intended to establish the dose for three later trials that the company apparently hopes to present together in order to win FDA approval. It’s kind of unusual to still be establishing the proper dose this late in the process, and the FDA often looks askance at multiple trials if the company intends to try to make some sort of combined analysis. But I guess Merck is satisfied if they’re willing to pay top dollar for the company.

NovaCardia had filed for an $86.3 million IPO in March, after rejecting acquisition offers the previous year.

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