mergers and acquisitions

AstraZeneca to buy rare-disease specialist Caelum in potential $500-million deal

Reuters
AstraZeneca to buy rare-disease specialist Caelum in potential $500-million deal

ASTRAZENECA. The AstraZeneca logo is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, March 22, 2021.

Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters

Through the acquisition, AstraZeneca says it would accelerate Caelum's late-stage trial of its drug candidate to treat AL amyloidosis, a rare, life-threatening disease

AstraZeneca will take full control of Caelum Biosciences in a deal worth up to $500 million, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, September 29, as it sharpens focus on rare-disease drugs following its purchase of Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

Alexion had taken a minority stake in New Jersey-based Caelum in 2019 before it was acquired by AstraZeneca for $39 billion earlier this year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker will pay $150 million to buy the remaining stake it does not already own in Caelum and potential milestone-based payments of up to $350 million.

Through the acquisition, AstraZeneca said it would accelerate Caelum’s late-stage trial of its drug candidate to treat AL amyloidosis, a rare, life-threatening disease that damages the heart and kidneys.

The treatment, which aims to improve organ function in affected patients, had in June received a fast-track status from US health regulators.

“With a median survival time of less than 18 months following diagnosis, there is an urgent need for new treatments for this devastating disease,” Alexion chief executive officer Marc Dunoyer said in a statement.

About 20,000 people across the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Britain live with the disease, AstraZeneca said, citing a study. – Rappler.com