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AstraZeneca to Acquire Fusion Pharmaceuticals for $2.4 Bn, Strengthens Oncology Porfolio

Written by : Jayati Dubey

March 21, 2024

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This acquisition marks another step in AstraZeneca's ongoing efforts to strengthen its lineup of innovative medicines.

In a strategic move to bolster its cancer treatment portfolio, British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has set foot to acquire Fusion Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian specialist focused on next-generation cancer therapies, for $2.4 billion (£1.9 billion).

This acquisition marks another step in AstraZeneca's ongoing efforts to strengthen its lineup of innovative medicines.

Fusion Pharmaceuticals is renowned for its pioneering work in developing next-generation radioconjugates, offering a promising alternative to traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

These innovative treatments deliver a radioactive isotope directly to cancer cells, minimizing damage to healthy tissues and enabling precise targeting of tumors.

The use of molecules such as antibodies, peptides, or small molecules facilitates this precise targeting, thereby promising to revolutionize cancer treatment approaches.

Focus on Fusion's Leading Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Among Fusion's most advanced treatments is FPI-2265, designed for patients with metastatic prostate cancer, a condition where the removal of the prostate gland cannot provide a cure.

FPI-2265 is currently undergoing phase II trials, demonstrating promising results in its ability to target cancer cells effectively. This acquisition will accelerate the development of FPI-2265 and further strengthen AstraZeneca's foothold in the oncology landscape.

Susan Galbraith, heads R&D oncology operation, AstraZeneca, said, "Between 30% and 50% of patients with cancer today receive radiotherapy at some point during treatment, and the acquisition of Fusion furthers our ambition to transform this aspect of care with next-generation radioconjugates.’’

He further noted that the aim is to jointly accelerate the development of FPI-2265 as a potential new treatment for prostate cancer and to harness their innovative actinium-based platform to develop radioconjugates as foundational regimens.

With cancer treatments already accounting for a significant portion of its sales, AstraZeneca claims to be at the forefront of pioneering new ways to combat this disease.

As per the company, its proactive approach to acquisitions reflects its strategy to harness innovation and maintain growth momentum in the competitive pharmaceutical landscape.

Reportedly, cancer treatments represent a third of sales for AstraZeneca and remain a key growth driver. Often these treatments can maintain high growth levels stretching into the future as patient access improves, approvals are gained in new markets, and new use cases pop up through clinical trials.

According to Market analysts, including Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown, ‘’But product development can be very expensive in terms of research and marketing, so the company is planning for growth through acquisition to avoid a potential drag on profits of focusing purely on long-term internal drug development."

AstraZeneca's Recent Acquisitions

The acquisition of Fusion Pharmaceuticals follows AstraZeneca's recent completion of the $1.2 billion acquisition of Gracell Biotechnologies, a company specializing in cell therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Additionally, AstraZeneca expanded its portfolio with the exclusive licensing agreement for an obesity and Type-II diabetes pill from a Chinese company.

In a related portfolio expansion development, GE HealthCare acquired MIM Software, a global medical imaging software provider specializing in AI-driven image analysis and workflow tools for various medical specialties. This strategic move aims to fortify GE HealthCare's precision care portfolio with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics capabilities.

Similarly, Merck acquired cancer drugmaker Harpoon Therapeutics for $680 million to strengthen its position in the oncology sector. This acquisition, aimed at diversifying Merck's sources of growth, underscores the company's commitment to maintaining leadership in the oncology space.


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