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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