AstraZeneca spends US$1.05b to acquire Amolyt Pharma and boost its rare disease portfolio

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By Imelda Cotton - 
AstraZeneca Amolyt Pharma biotech acquisition

Global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) will part with US$1.05 billion to buy-out French biotech Amolyt Pharma, which is focused on the development of novel treatments for rare endocrine diseases.

Under the terms of the transaction, AstraZeneca will acquire all of Amolyt’s outstanding shares on a cash and debt-free basis.

It will include an US$800 million upfront payment on completion of the deal, plus the right for Amolyt’s shareholders to receive an additional contingent payment of US$250 million payable on achievement of specified regulatory milestones.

Chronic hypoparathyroidism

The proposed acquisition will boost a drug development portfolio owned by the Alexion AstraZeneca Rare Disease group and expand on the company’s bone metabolism franchise with the addition of eneboparatide (AZP-3601) for the treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism.

The rare disease is characterised by a deficiency in parathyroid hormone (PTH) production and results in significant dysregulation of calcium and phosphate, leading to life-altering symptoms and complications including chronic kidney disease.

Hypoparathyroidism affects an estimated 115,000 people in the US and 107,000 people in the European Union.

In adults with chronic hypoparathyroidism, eneboparatide was shown to be able to preserve bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis, while for those with hypercalciuria (excess calcium in urine), the results demonstrated the potential to normalise calcium levels.

Data from a Phase II trial showed that eneboparatide can achieve normalisation of serum calcium levels and has potential to eliminate dependence on daily calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Alternative therapies

Alexion AstraZeneca Rare Disease chief executive officer Marc Dunoyer said the Amolyt acquisition would help address an unmet need for alternative therapies for patients with hypoparathyroidism.

“Alexion is uniquely positioned to drive the late-stage development and global commercialisation of eneboparatide, which has the potential to lessen the often debilitating impact of low parathyroid hormone and avoid the risks of high-dose calcium supplementation,” he said.

“We believe this program — together with Amolyt’s talented team, expertise and earlier pipeline — will enable our expansion into rare endocrinology.”

Life-changing treatments

Amolyt chief executive officer Thierry Abribat welcomed the acquisition.

“AstraZeneca shares our dedication to delivering life-changing treatments for people living with rare diseases and this agreement offers the opportunity to meaningfully advance our pipeline therapies,” he said.

“Strong Phase II data suggests eneboparatide has the potential to improve outcomes for patients and to shift the treatment paradigm for hypoparathyroidism, and we look forward to seeing the continued advancement of the Phase III trial.”

Alexion acquisition

Alexion AstraZeneca Rare Disease was created following AstraZeneca’s acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc in 2021.

Alexion has been involved with rare diseases for more than 30 years and is focused on the discovery, development and commercialisation of life-changing medicines.

The company’s research centres on novel molecules and targets in haematology, nephrology, neurology, metabolic disorders, cardiology and ophthalmology.

Last year, Alexion secured a deal to buy Pfizer’s early-stage rare disease gene therapy portfolio for up to US$1 billion, plus royalties on sales.

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