AstraZeneca announced it is acquiring Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion. Alexion shareholders will get $60 in cash and 2.1243 AstraZeneca American Depositary Shares (ADS), with each ADS worth half of an ordinary AstraZeneca share. The deal otherwise comes to about $175 per share.
The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.
AstraZeneca’s focus has been on oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory diseases. It has also increased its immunology research-and-development efforts associated with immune-mediated diseases.
Alexion’s focus is on complement inhibition. Complement is a part of the human immune system, and its focus has been on a range of immune-mediated rare diseases caused by abnormal activation of the complement system. Alexion’s branded products include Soliris (eculizumab), a first-in-class anti-complement component 5 (C5) monoclonal antibody. It is approved in several countries for paroxysmal hemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. Another branded product is Ultomiris (ravulizumab), a second-generation C5 monoclonal antibody.
Soliris brought in about $4 billion in revenue in 2019. Ultomiris was in 2019 and brought in $338.9 million. Other marketed products include Strensiq (asfotase alfa) and Kanuma (sebelipase alfa).
Alexion’s pipeline includes molecules that focus on other targets in the complement cascade besides C5, including Factor D small-molecule inhibitors of the alternative pathway of the complement system, an antibody that blocks neonatal Fc receptor-mediated recycling, and a bi-specific mini-body targeting C5.