Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced the backing of its Celgene merger by shareholders, in a decision that was won by a majority of more than 75%.

The shareholders voted to approve the issuance of shares of BMS common stock in connection with the company’s pending merger with Celgene.

The merger was initially announced in January this year, in order to “create a premier innovative biopharma company” and expand its cancer and immunotherapy offering.

When completed, BMS shareholders are expected to own approximately 69% of the company, with Celgene shareholders owning the remaining 31%.

The transaction will cost around $74 billion in a cash and stock deal, under which Celgene shareholders will receive 1.0 BMS share as well as $50 in cash for each share of Celgene.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s Special Meeting and thank our shareholders for their support for this combination,” said Giovanni Caforio, chairman and chief executive officer of BMS.

“Together with Celgene, we will create a premier innovative biopharma company with leading scientific capabilities that is well positioned to address the needs of patients through high-value innovative medicines. We look forward to bringing the companies together, which we believe will deliver significant shareholder value.”

The combined company expects to have nine products with more than $1 billion in annual sales, as well as significant potential for growth in oncology, immunology and inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

It also proposes more than $45 billion of expected free cash flow generation over the first three full years post-closing the deal, and claims to realise run-rate cost synergies of approximately $2.5 billion by 2022.