AstraZeneca to acquire US biopharma company Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39bn

AstraZeneca acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals : Pharma giant AstraZeneca has signed a $39 billion deal to acquire Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a US biopharma company engaged in developing therapies for rare disorders.

As per the terms of the deal, Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ shareholders will be paid $60 in cash and 2.1243 American Depositary Shares (ADSs) of AstraZeneca, valuing each of the shares of the US firm at $175.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has developed and commercialized a couple of approved complement inhibitors – Soliris (eculizumab) and Ultomiris (ravulizumab) for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome. Soliris is also approved for the treatment of anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive generalised myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

The US biopharma company also has a couple of enzyme replacement therapies in its portfolio, which are for patients having life-threatening and ultra-rare metabolic disorders, hypophosphatasia and lysosomal acid lipase deficiency and also the first and only approved Factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent.

Additionally, Alexion Pharmaceuticals is developing various mid-to-late-stage therapies. These include a copper-binding agent for the treatment of Wilson disease, FcRn antibody for the treatment of rare IgG-mediated diseases, and an oral Factor D inhibitor along with certain early-stage therapies.

In May 2020, Alexion Pharmaceuticals signed a $1.41 billion deal to acquire Portola Pharmaceuticals, a commercial-stage biopharma company focused on developing therapies for life-threatening blood-related disorders.

Ludwig Hantson – CEO of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, commenting on AstraZeneca acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, said: “For nearly 30 years Alexion has worked to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. I am incredibly proud of what our organisation has accomplished and am grateful to our employees for their contributions.

“This transaction marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Alexion. We bring to AstraZeneca a strong portfolio, innovative rare disease pipeline, a talented global workforce and strong manufacturing capabilities in biologics.

“We remain committed to continuing to serve the patients who rely on our medicines and firmly believe the combined organisation will be well positioned to accelerate innovation and deliver enhanced value for our shareholders, patients and the rare disease communities.”

AstraZeneca acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals

AstraZeneca acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca said that it will work with the research and development (R&D) team of Alexion Pharmaceuticals to consolidate on the latter’s pipeline of 11 molecules across 20 plus clinical-development programs across the range of indications, in rare diseases and beyond.

The acquisition will support AstraZeneca’s long-term goal of developing novel therapies in areas of immunology that have high unmet medical needs.

Commenting on AstraZeneca acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Pascal Soriot -CEO of AstraZeneca, said: “Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases. This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology.

“We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Alexion so that we can together build on our combined expertise in immunology and precision medicines to drive innovation that delivers life-changing medicines for more patients.”

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, shareholders’ approvals of both the firms, and other closing conditions, is expected to be wrapped up in Q3 2021.

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