ASTRAZENECA took a further step to bolster its pipeline of new cancer drugs on yesterday by agreeing to acquire privately held US biotech company Amplimmune for up to $500m (£321m).
The deal is the second within 24 hours in the cancer drug space, following Amgen much larger acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals for about $10.4bn.
Amplimmune specialises in developing treatments designed to help the immune system fight cancer and the purchase will give AstraZeneca access to a number of compounds currently in pre-clinical development.
While it will not yield commercially viable new medicines for several years, the move fits with the British drugmaker’s strategy of building up its capability in oncology – a key area identified for investment by CEO Pascal Soriot.
AstraZeneca’s MedImmune biotech unit will acquire 100 per cent of Amplimmune’s shares for an initial $225m and a deferred consideration of up to $275m based on reaching predetermined development milestones.
“It will allow us to strengthen our arsenal of potential cancer therapies,” Bahija Jallal, executive vice president of MedImmune, said of the deal.
City A.M. Reporter