Deal will strengthen AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy offering

AstraZeneca has agreed to buy a majority stake in Acerta Pharma, a privately-owned biopharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands and US.

The deal gives AstraZeneca access to Acerta’s acalabrutinib, a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, which is currently in clinical trials. ‘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,’ AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

AstraZeneca will pay $2.5 billion (£1.7 billion) up-front for a 55% share of Acerta, followed by $1.5 billion when acalabrutinib is first approved in the US, or at the end of 2018, whichever is sooner.