UK – AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, is finally on course to secure Alexion, a pharma company that specializes in rare disease, following a go-ahead approval from European Commission (EC).
The company sought to acquire Alexion for approximately US$39B last year in a bid to establish a specialist rare disease pipeline in its portfolio.
EC’s clearance marks an important step towards AstraZeneca’s acquisition of Alexion as the two companies hope to be the leaders in immunology and precision medicines.
The proposed acquisition has already received complete clearances from regulatory authorities in the US, Japan and other countries globally. However, clearance in the UK is still pending and remains a requirement to complete the deal.
Alexion’s portfolio of rare disease medicines includes Soliris (eculizumab), a first-in-class anti-complement component 5 (C5) monoclonal antibody.
This drug is approved for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), a typical haemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis Optica spectrum disorder.
In addition, Alexion recently launched Ultomiris (ravulizumab), a second-generation C5 monoclonal antibody.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that it will work with Alexion’s research and development team to build on the latter company’s pipeline of 11 molecules currently in clinical development.
The British drug maker added that the acquisition will add a new technology platform to its own capabilities.
Alexion is also focused on novel molecules and targets in the complement cascade, which plays a crucial role in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases across multiple therapy areas.
AstraZeneca hopes that by combining its own expertise in precision medicine with Alexion’s specialist rare disease knowledge, it can develop a portfolio of medicines addressing a range of rare diseases.
Alexion’s total revenue for the fiscal year 2020 were US$6,069.9 million, a 22 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.
Despite growing its EBITDA (a measure of operational profitability) per share by nearly 100% since 2018, the company’s stock has increased by less than 10% over that period. Currently its stock price is valued at US$186.28.
Upon completion of the acquisition, both companies will develop a group focused solely on rare disease and will bear the name ‘Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease’ with headquarters in Boston, US.