AstraZeneca to buy Alexion in $39B rare disease deal

Dec. 14, 2020

AstraZeneca has agreed to buy U.S. drugmaker Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion in its largest ever deal, betting on rare-disease and immunology treatments.

The $3 billion show-stopper for the Boston-based biopharma is its best-selling drug Soliris, used against a range of rare immune-disorders including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), which causes anaemia and blood clots. The drug is approved in numerous countries for the treatment of patients with PNH, atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

More recently, Alexion launched a second-generation version of the C5 monoclonal antibody, called Ultomiris, offering a more convenient dosing regimen. AstraZeneca is betting on Ultomiris having an even larger market potential.

Additionally, AstraZeneca, with Alexion's R&D team, said it 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. A dedicated rare disease unit will be headquartered in Boston.

According to AstraZeneca, both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Read the press release