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AstraZeneca announced the intention to acquire the 55% of the equity stake in the privately-owned biopharmaceutical company Acerta Pharma for an upfront payment of $2.5 billion. A further unconditional payment of $1.5 billion will be paid either on receipt of the first regulatory approval for acalabrutinib for any indication in the US, or the end of 2018, depending on which is first. The deal provides access to the candidate irreversible oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, acalabrutinib (ACP-196), currently in Phase III development for B-cell blood cancers and in Phase I/II clinical trials in multiple solid tumours.

“We are boosting a key area in our comprehensive oncology portfolio with a late-stage, potential best-in-class medicine that could transform treatment for patients across a range of blood cancers”, said Pascal Soriot (photo), chief executive officer of AstraZeneca.Pascal Soriot

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