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AstraZeneca clears latest hurdle for Alexion acquisition after EU clearance

AZ first announced the proposed acquisition of Alexion in December 2020

AstraZeneca (AZ) is a step closer to completing its proposed acquisition of Alexion after gaining clearance from the European Commission today. 

The European Commission has reviewed AZ’s plans to acquire Alexion for $39bn, clearing the deal and giving the go-ahead in Europe.

The EU clearance comes after similar competition clearances in the US, Japan and other global regulatory agencies, AZ said in a statement.

AZ first announced the proposed acquisition of Alexion in December 2020 in a bid to bolster and diversify its drug portfolio with rare disease assets.

The deal means AZ will immediately gain assets within Alexion’s commercial portfolio, estimated to be worth around $6bn. This includes the company’s complement component 5 (C5) inhibitors Soliris (eculizumab) and Ultomiris (ravulizumab), which are already available in the US and EU.

AZ will also gain a portfolio of assets currently in clinical development, consisting of a pipeline of 11 molecules across over 20 clinical-development programmes.

"We are pleased to have secured clearance from the European Commission for the proposed acquisition of Alexion, a pioneer in the discovery and development of medicines for rare diseases,” said Marc Dunoyer, executive director and chief financial officer of AZ.

“We are now another step closer to closing the acquisition and combining the two companies to create a leader in immunology and precision medicines. We continue to progress towards the completion of the acquisition during this quarter,” he added.

The proposed deal is still waiting for regulatory clearance in the UK, which is a requirement for the completion of the merger.

In May, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it was reviewing AZ’s proposed takeover of Alexion. At the time, the CMA said it would be inviting comments from interested parties to aid in its assessment of the merger – a routine process for ‘major’ deals.

The CMA’s initial analysis will form ‘phase 1’ of the review and is likely to be completed by 21 July, although the regulator will post its decisions following this, depending on whether the deal is cleared or if it progresses to an additional ‘phase 2’ review.

If the proposed acquisition is cleared by the CMA, AZ will make Alexion a dedicated rare disease business unit, and its headquarters will be in Boston, US.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

6th July 2021

From: Regulatory

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