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Rare Disease Drugmaker Caelum Bought By AstraZeneca For A Possible $500 mln Deal

Rare Disease Drugmaker Caelum Bought By AstraZeneca For A Possible $500 mln Deal
AstraZeneca has set its eyes on intensifying its emphasis on rare-disease medicines. On an earlier occasion, the pharma company that also came out with a Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, had acquired Alexion Pharmaceuticals and on Wednesday the company announced its move to acquire full control of Caelum Biosciences in a deal that is worth $500 million.
The completion of the deal will allow AstraZeneca to get access to another potentially profitable rare illness medication that currently is in the late stages of trials and has already obtained "fast track" approval from the medicine regulator of the United States.
The company said that it will integrate into itself Caelum, located in New Jersey, a company that it had earlier tis year for a deal worth $39 billion.
A payment of $150 million will be made by Alexion for purchasing the last remaining stocks of Caelum that are not already owned by it while also making more payments in the future which will be up to 350 million and is to be made according to the achievement of milestones. A minority stake in Caelum was taken up by Alexion in 2019.
The drug that is being tested by Caelum is designed for the treatment of AL amyloidosis, which is a rare, life-threatening ailment that damages the heart and kidneys and is estimated to affect about 20,000 people every year across six Western countries.
An individual suffering from the disease has his/her abnormal proteins, called amyloids, getting built up in human organs which essentially prevent the normal functioning of the organs. Caelum's drug candidate is a form of monoclonal antibody that binds to amyloid deposits which then helps to reduce or even eliminate them – thereby enhancing the functioning of the ailing organ.
"With a median survival time of fewer than 18 months following diagnosis, there is an urgent need for new treatments for this devastating disease," Alexion CEO Marc Dunoyer said in a statement.
AstraZeneca has had mixed results with the rare illness medicines that were under development since it acquired Alexion. For example, while the company claimed to have had positive findings from Wilson's disease studies, it essentially completely abandoned trials for an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis medication after it failed to demonstrate effectiveness.
Share prices of AstraZeneca were up by 2.2 per cent on the London Stock Exchange which was in line with the broader market.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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