In a bid to gain access to a promising new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) announced today it is acquiring privately held Pearl Therapeutics in a deal that could have a total valuation of $1.15 billion when all is said and done.
Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire 100% of Pearl's shares for an initial payment of $560 million at the time of completion. An additional $450 million will be payable if Pearl's products under development, particularly its triple combination therapies and selected future products developed using Pearl's technology platform, achieve certain development and regulatory milestones.
Assuming certain sales thresholds are then exceeded, Pearl could receive an additional $140 million, bringing the total potential acquisition cost up to $1.15 billion.
Pearl's lead product is PT003, currently in late-stage development. Together with its inhaler and formulation technology, they provide a platform for future combination products that are expected to become an important new class of treatment for COPD.
Noting that COPD continues to increase worldwide, which suggests a growing need for next-generation inhaled combination products, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: "Pearl's novel formulation technology, together with its development products and specialist expertise are a great complement to AstraZeneca's long-established capabilities in respiratory disease, one of our core therapy areas. Combined with our on-market portfolio, including Symbicort, and our strong pipeline, the agreement will enable us to offer further distinctive treatment options across the full spectrum of COPD and asthma to patients, physicians and payers." The company says COPD affects an estimated 210 million people worldwide and is predicted to be the third-leading cause of death by 2020.
The proposed transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, but should not have any impact on AstraZeneca's financial guidance for 2013.