AstraZeneca acquires Alexion for $39bn

The acquisition is expected to close in Q3 2021

AstraZeneca is acquiring Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39bn.

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition. Subject to regulatory clearance and approval by the shareholders of both companies, the acquisition will be finalised in Q3 2021.

The acquisition comes on the back of AstraZeneca’s increased efforts in immunology research and the development of medicines for immune-mediated diseases. With Alexion progressing from ultra-orphan to orphan and speciality conditions, and AstraZeneca expanding from primary to specialty care, the companies say they have been on ‘converging paths’.

Alexion’s work centres complement inhibition for immune-mediated rare diseases caused by uncontrolled activation of the complement system. Its portfolio includes Soliris (eculizumab), an anti-complement component 5 (C5) monoclonal antibody for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

The company also target the complement cascade beyond C5 as well as additional modalities, with its pipeline including Factor D small-molecule inhibitors of the alternative pathway of the complement system, an antibody blocking neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn)-mediated recycling, and a bi-specific mini-body targeting C5, among others.

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

Following the acquisition, the combined company will work to build on Alexion's pipeline of 11 molecules across more than 20 clinical-development programmes across the spectrum of indications, in rare diseases and beyond.

The companies aim to utilise AstraZeneca’s capabilities in precision medicine and Alexion’s expertise in rare-disease development and commercialisation to develop a portfolio of medicines addressing the large unmet needs of patients suffering from rare diseases.

AstraZeneca intends to establish Boston, Massachusetts, US as its headquarters for rare diseases, capitalising on talent in the greater Boston area.

Pascal Soriot, CEO, 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, CEO, 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.”

Companies