Sunday, October 24, 2021

AstraZeneca Buys Rare Disease Drugmaker Caelum in Possible $500 Million Deal

AstraZeneca will take full control of Calum Biosciences in a deal worth up to $500 million, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, revamping its focus on rare-disease drugs following its purchase of Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

The deal gives AstraZeneca access to another potentially lucrative rare disease drug that has been undergoing testing as of late and has “fast-track” status for regulatory review in the United States.

New Jersey-based Callum will become part of AstraZeneca’s Alexion division, the rare disease specialist it bought earlier this year for $39 billion.

Alexion will pay $150 million to buy the remaining stake it doesn’t already have in Caelum and a future payment of up to $350 million based on milestones achieved. Alexion took a minority stake in Callum in 2019.

Caelum’s drug candidate aims to treat AL amyloidosis, a rare, life-threatening disease that damages the heart and kidneys and affects an estimated 20,000 people in six Western countries.

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The disease builds up abnormal proteins called amyloid in human organs and disrupts their normal function. Caelum’s drug is a type of monoclonal antibody that binds to amyloid to reduce or remove deposits and improve organ function.

“With a median survival time of less than 18 months after diagnosis, there is an urgent need for new treatments for this devastating disease,” Alexion CEO Mark Dunauer said in a statement.

Since buying Alexion, AstraZeneca has had a mixed fortune with rare disease drugs under development. Although it reported promising results from a trial of a Wilson’s disease drug, it dropped trials for an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis drug after it failed to show efficacy.

AstraZeneca shares were up 2.2 percent as of 0900 GMT on the London Stock Exchange, in line with the broader market.

By Yadarisa Shabong and Sachin Ravikumar

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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