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A lymphoma drug that was approved later than expected by regulators is at the center of a lawsuit accusing Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) of deliberately delaying production and development of the medicine in order to save $6.4 billion in payments to investors.

At issue is a provision in the 2019 agreement in which Bristol Myers paid $80.3 billion for Celgene. As part of the deal, Bristol Myers agreed to pay Celgene shareholders $9 in cash, or contingent value rights, for each share they held. But there was a stipulation — the company had to win Food and Drug Administration approval for a treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by Dec. 31, 2020.


However, the approval of the drug — known as Liso-Cel — was plagued by delays that Celgene shareholders attribute to Bristol Myers. The shareholders are fuming that the medicine was approved just 36 days after they hoped for a big pay day.

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