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AstraZeneca would consider buying immune-therapy company: Bloomberg

June 3, 2015
Life sciences
AstraZeneca Plc would consider acquiring a developer of a new type of cancer therapy aimed at supercharging the body’s immune response, Bloomberg quoted Chief Executive Pascal Soriot as saying on Tuesday.
 
An earlier version of the Bloomberg article quoted Soriot as saying that AstraZeneca would consider buying a company such as Juno Therapeutics Inc (JUNO.O).
 
Juno’s shares rose as much as 15.8 percent to $61.50 on the original report before falling back to $58.09 in early afternoon trading, for a rise of 9 percent.
 
The corrected story said Soriot was responding to a question about whether AstraZeneca was interested in making an acquisition in CAR T therapies, such as Juno.
 
“As part of our science-led strategy, we’d consider partnering with or acquiring distinctive technologies that complement our pipeline,” Esra Erkal-Palera, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca, told Reuters.
 
“Bloomberg is citing our partnership with Juno as an example of the type of science – we don’t speculate about individual companies,” she said in an email.
 
Seattle-based Juno, among the few companies developing a new class of immuno-oncology treatments called CAR-T cell therapies, had a market value of $4.38 billion as of Monday’s close.
 
AstraZeneca and Juno already have a collaboration agreement to test one of AstraZeneca’s cancer drugs in combination with Juno’s CAR-T cell therapy, which is considered to be a breakthrough in cancer treatment.
 
CAR-T therapies, which directly recruit the immune system’s powerful T cells, are proving to be effective against tumors and could soon dominate the $100 billion global market for drugs that fight cancer.
 
AstraZeneca’s shares were up marginally at $67.31 on the New York Stock Exchange after touching a low of $66.68.
 
(Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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