USA— AstraZeneca has struck a deal to buy US-based biopharmaceutical firm CinCor Pharma Inc for up to US$1.8 billion to strengthen its pipeline of heart and kidney drugs and grow beyond its mainstay cancer business.

AstraZeneca said it will pay US$26 per CinCor share in cash or US$1.3 billion in total. Including this, the offer represents a 206 percent premium to CinCor’s shares to close.

The offer also includes a non-tradable contingent value right of US$10 per share in cash payable upon a specified regulatory submission of CinCor’s baxdrostat, which is being developed to treat conditions including high blood pressure and kidney disease.

The London-listed group said it would be looking to combine CinCor’s lead compound baxdrostat with its own Farxiga, which is quickly growing in sales beyond an initial use in diabetes after Astra won a headstart approval to treat chronic kidney disease.

Farxiga, whose sales jumped by almost 50% during the first nine months of last year to reach US$3.2 billion, is set to face competition in kidney disease from drugs produced by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Jardiance.

In theory, a combination of baxdrostat with Farxiga could enable AstraZeneca to prolong its Farxiga franchise, Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of bioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said.

About a third of AstraZeneca’s business is based on cancer drugs, but its roster of heart, kidney, and diabetes drugs is its second most lucrative unit by sales.

In the first nine months of 2022, the unit generated about US$6.9 billion of the London-listed drugmaker’s more than US$33 billion in total revenue.

However, Farxiga and the oncology drugs Lynparza and Calquence could potentially face generic competition as early as 2024 according to BMO Capital Market analysts.

We believe (Astra’s bid) offers the prospect of accelerating the development timeline and expanding the breadth of benefits patients with cardiorenal diseases might obtain from baxdrostat, if approved,” CinCor’s Chief Executive Marc de Garidel said.

Baxdrostat in November failed to meet its main goal in a mid-stage study as it could not clearly be shown to reduce uncontrolled high blood pressure, but CinCor said it would start a larger Phase III trial during the first half of this year.

Approximately 121 percent more than the stock’s closing price on Friday, AstraZeneca announced it will pay US$26 for each CinCor share in cash.

Swiss biotech company Idorsia Ltd. is developing a medicine called aprocitentan for a similar population: patients with difficult-to-control hypertension.

The deal is the first sizable one for Astra since the US$39 billion takeover of rare-disease specialist Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2021, and it’s in keeping with Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot’s strategy to beef up the UK drugmaker’s pipeline.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.