Sector News

AstraZeneca's $4 billion Acerta deal endorsed by orphan drug status

February 29, 2016
Life sciences

AstraZeneca’s bold move to buy 55 percent of privately held biotech firm Acerta Pharma for $4 billion in December has been vindicated, at least in part, by the award of special “orphan” status to the key experimental drug involved.

The drugmaker said on Thursday that the European Medicines Agency had recommended acalabrutinib as an orphan product for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.

Orphan status is awarded to medicines promising significant benefit in the treatment of rare, life-threatening diseases and the designation provides companies with special development and market exclusivity incentives.

AstraZeneca bought control of Acerta to get its hands on acalabrutinib, which it believes could generate sales of more than $5 billion a year. The drug is currently in the final stages of clinical development for various blood cancers.

Acalabrutinib works in a similar way to AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica. But AstraZeneca reckons it has fewer side effects than Imbruvica and potentially better efficacy. Rival drugs are further behind in development.

Acerta shareholders will have the option to sell the remaining 45 percent of shares in the biotech company to AstraZeneca for approximately $3 billion once acalabrutinib has been approved in both the United States and Europe.

The new medicine is a so-called Burton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets an array of blood cancers and potentially some solid tumors. It may also help in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

By Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely

Source: Reuters

comments closed

Related News

January 22, 2023

Sun Pharma to buy Concert Pharmaceuticals for $576m

Life sciences

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has signed a definitive agreement to buy all outstanding shares of Concert Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at $576m. Under the deal, the company will buy all shares of Concert common stock through a tender offer for $8.00 per share in cash upfront payment.

January 22, 2023

Novo Nordisk diabetes pill wins FDA approval for first-line use

Life sciences

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Novo Nordisk’s diabetes pill Rybelsus as an initial treatment to lower blood sugar levels, a label expansion that will allow it to compete more directly with other oral drugs from Merck & Co. and Eli Lilly.

January 22, 2023

Bayer feeling more heat from activist investors, this time from Bluebell

Life sciences

Since making an ill-advised $63 billion buy of Monsanto in 2018, Bayer has faced heaps of pressure from investors that have called for the company to oust its leadership and to restructure. Now comes new pressure from a familiar source. Bluebell Capital Partners has bought an undisclosed stake in the company and is agitating for a breakup, sources told Reuters.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach