AstraZeneca buys Ardea Biosciences for $1.26 billion
Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has acquired the American biotechnology firm Ardea Biosciences in a deal worth $1.26 billion (€356 million).
It comes during a very busy period of mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology sector and AstraZeneca is aiming to add to its currently unimpressive pipeline of new drugs.
Along with the acquisition of Ardea, the company will also gain a revolutionary new gout drug the biosciences organisation has been working on which is currently at the patient trial stage.
It also has two experimental cancer treatments – for liver and pancreatic cancer – which are currently undergoing mid-stage trials.
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It is hoped the acquisition will boost the prospects of AstraZeneca, which, as well as having very few new drugs in the pipeline, is set to lose the production rights to several of its key products, including its best-seller Sereoquel.
As a result, it recently announced it was going to have to cut its workforce by 7,300 by the year 2014.
Commenting on the acquisition of Ardea Biosciences and its new gout treatment, David Brennan, the CEO of AstraZeneca, said: “This attractive Phase III programme is an excellent opportunity to leverage AstraZeneca's global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities.
“The Ardea team has done a great job developing lesinurad along with a promising next-generation gout programme.
“These compounds have real potential to benefit patients.”
Meanwhile, the President and CEO of Ardea Biosciences added: “We are delighted to be joining AstraZeneca.
“From our earliest interactions, we were impressed with the quality of AstraZeneca's people and we are confident their commercial strength and global reach will help realise the full potential of our programmes.
“The Ardea team and I are committed to helping complete development and working to secure registration for lesinurad.”
AstraZeneca is just one major pharmaceutical company that is looking to forge relationships in the biotechnology sector.
Only last week GlaxoSmithKline tried to purchase Human Genome Sciences for $2.6 billion, but its bid was rejected.
Elsewhere Roche also tried to acquire Illumina for $6.8 billion, but this bid was also unsuccessful.
The deal between AstraZeneca and Ardea Biosciences is expected to close in the second or third quarter.
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Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!