UK—AstraZeneca, a worldwide science-led biopharmaceutical firm based in Cambridge, UK, has acquired Amolyt Pharma, an endocrine illness specialist financed by Novo Holdings, reinforcing its rare disease division.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of actions by the UK drugmaker since purchasing Alexion.

Three years ago, AstraZeneca acquired Alexion for US$39 billion, instantly transforming it into a prominent player in rare diseases. Since then, the U.K. drugmaker has strategically acquired new properties.

In September 2021, the business exercised its option to purchase the remainder of rare disease manufacturer Caelum Biosciences for US$150 million.

A few months later, AstraZeneca secured two transthyretin amyloidosis partnerships, paying US$30 million to Switzerland’s Neurimmune for rights to an experimental therapy and signing a development agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals for a medicine that was approved in late 2023.

AstraZeneca will pay Amolyt stockholders US$800 million in cash up front, with an additional US$250 million available if a specified regulatory milestone is met. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the third quarter.

In less than five years, Amolyt will progress from a startup with preclinical assets to a Phase 3 company, with Novo Holdings, the majority shareholder of both Novo Nordisk and Novozymes, serving as its main investor.

Novo Holdings, which is owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, co-led Amolyt’s Series A financing in 2019 and later increased its investment with Series B and Series C rounds.

After this acquisition, AstraZeneca will have ownership of eneboparatide, a drug in Phase 3 testing to treat patients with hypoparathyroidism.

The condition, which primarily affects women, is caused by a lack of parathyroid hormone production, which reduces calcium levels in the blood and can cause devastating symptoms such as kidney disease.

It affects roughly 115,000 people in the United States.

Aside from eneboparatide, Amolyt has an experimental medicine called AZP-3813 created as a potential treatment for acromegaly, which occurs when the body produces too much growth hormone.

AstraZeneca is also utilizing its expertise in rare diseases to expand into genetic medicine, acquiring gene-editing company LogicBio Therapeutics and potentially paying US$1 billion for Pfizer’s early gene therapy research.

Last year, the company announced a collaboration with Quell Therapeutics to research cell-based therapies for autoimmune illnesses.

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