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AstraZeneca completes transaction for majority equity stake investment in Acerta Pharma 02 February 2016

AstraZeneca has announced that it has completed the transaction to acquire a majority equity stake in Acerta Pharma, a privately-owned biopharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands and US. The transaction, announced in December 2015, provides AstraZeneca with a potential best-in-class irreversible oral Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, acalabrutinib (ACP-196), currently in Phase II/III development for B-cell blood cancers and in Phase I/II clinical trials in multiple solid tumours.

Upon completion of the agreement, AstraZeneca acquired 55% of the entire issued share capital of Acerta for an upfront payment of $2.5 billion and a further unconditional payment of $1.5 billion, to 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.

An extensive development programme is underway for acalabrutinib with the opportunity for initial regulatory submissions in the second half of 2016 for the treatment of patients with specific types of haematological malignancies. Expanding further into B-cell cancers, acalabrutinib is estimated to reach potential peak-year sales in excess of $5 billion globally.

The investment also establishes in-house expertise for AstraZeneca in blood cancers, through the substantial expertise offered by Acerta’s approximately 150 employees.