AstraZeneca entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a transaction valued at $39 billion. The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition. Subject to regulatory clearances and shareholder approval, the acquisition is expected to close 3Q21.
AstraZeneca has a growing scientific presence in oncology, and in cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory diseases, with a focus on organ protection. AstraZeneca has developed a broad range of technologies, initially focused on small molecules and biologics and with a growing focus in precision medicine, genomics, oligonucleotides and epigenetics. More recently, AstraZeneca has increased its efforts in immunology research and the development of medicines for immune-mediated diseases.
Alexion has pioneered complement inhibition for a broad spectrum of immune-mediated rare diseases caused by uncontrolled activation of the complement system, a vital part of the immune system. Alexion's franchise includes Soliris (eculizumab), a first-in-class anti-complement component 5 (C5) monoclonal antibody. The medicine is approved in many countries for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. More recently, Alexion launched Ultomiris (ravulizumab), a second-generation C5 monoclonal antibody with a more convenient dosing regimen.
AstraZeneca, with Alexion's R&D team, will work to build on Alexion's pipeline of 11 molecules across more than 20 clinical-development programs across the spectrum of indications, in rare diseases and beyond.
The combined companies will bring together two rapidly converging, patient-centric models of care delivery with combined strengths in immunology, biologics, genomics and oligonucleotides. AstraZeneca intends to establish Boston, MA, as its headquarters for rare diseases.
Alexion achieved impressive revenue growth over the last few years, with revenues of $5.0 billion in 2019 (+21%). AstraZeneca intends to leverage its geographical footprint and extensive emerging markets presence to accelerate the worldwide expansion of Alexion's portfolio.
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said, "Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases. This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Alexion so that we can together build on our combined expertise in immunology and precision medicines to drive innovation that delivers life-changing medicines for more patients."
Ludwig Hantson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Alexion, said, “For nearly 30 years Alexion has worked to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. I am incredibly proud of what our organisation has accomplished and am grateful to our employees for their contributions. This transaction marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Alexion. We bring to AstraZeneca a strong portfolio, innovative rare disease pipeline, a talented global workforce and strong manufacturing capabilities in biologics. We remain committed to continuing to serve the patients who rely on our medicines and firmly believe the combined organisation will be well positioned to accelerate innovation and deliver enhanced value for our shareholders, patients and the rare disease communities.”