AstraZeneca stocks respiratory and cancer pipelines


AstraZeneca (AZ) has agreed to buy Spanish firm Almirall’s respiratory drug assets for $875 million (£518 million) up front, plus up to $1.2 billion in performance milestone payments. The deal is the biggest in a suite of acquisitions and partnerships the company has negotiated since its run-in with Pfizer in May, aimed at topping up its pipeline and making the company a more attractive prospect for investors in the short and long term.

In this deal, the Anglo-Swedish pharma major will take control of several compounds at varying stages of development. These include the recently-approved chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drug Eklira (aclidinium), as well as a combination of Eklira with formoterol, which has been filed for approval in the EU. It also includes several programmes in earlier clinical and pre-clinical development, along with Almirall’s subsidiary that develops inhalers for delivering the drugs.

The deal builds on AZ’s acquisition of respiratory specialist Pearl therapeutics last year, and a licensing deal with UK start-up Synairgen covering an experimental inhaled interferon treatment to treat asthma sufferers who are prone to viral respiratory infections.

Another area that AZ is pushing hard into is immuno-oncology – harnessing the immune system to fight cancer. The company has signed two partnership deals with Roche and Qiagen to develop diagnostic tests to identify suitable patients for its non-small cell lung cancer drug Iressa (gefitinib) and a follow-up drug in clinical trials. AZ’s biological drugs arm, MedImmune, has also signed up with Advaxis in the US and Kyowa Hakko Kirin of South Korea to run clinical trials on combinations of its anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody with antibody drugs the other two companies are developing.


Related Content

AstraZeneca stocks pipeline with acquisitions

10 June 2013 Business

news image

Spending spree continues with two more deals

The hunt for innovation

31 January 2014 Premium contentFeature

news image

Big pharma companies are embracing a more open and collaborative approach. Nuala Moran discovers who’s working with whom

Most Commented

US genomics lead being lost to China

17 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

NIH senior leaders are sounding the alarm bells, saying the US's pre-eminence in genomics research is under threat

The trouble with boycotts

29 August 2014 Critical Point

news image

Cutting academic ties with a censured state can do more harm than good, says Mark Peplow