AstraZeneca has acquired AlphaCore Pharma, a US-based biotechnology company, which is currently developing a new type of cholesterol medicine. The acquisition was made through AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.The British drugmaker’s new chief executive Pascal Soriot had earlier stated that AstraZeneca would be taking on more scientific risks by betting on a new and still unproven approach to cardiovascular medicine under AstraZeneca’s restructuring plan which will also see massive job cuts across its sales and administrative divisions.
AstraZeneca has few experimental compounds for conditions such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and oncology and respiratory inflammations. AlphaCore will help fill the lacunae, although it will not deliver any marketable products for many years. Its leading drug candidate ACP-501, a genetically engineered liver-derived enzyme called LCAT, only completed Phase I clinical tests last year. The hope is that ACP-501 will help in the management of cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. AlphaCore could also play a role in a rare, hereditary disorder called familial LCAT deficiency in which the LCAT enzyme is absent.
Last month, AstraZeneca revealed it paid $240 million (£158.8 million) to Moderna Therapeutics to access its know-how in manipulating RNA, or ribonucleic acid, which helps create proteins inside cells, which is another example of Pascal Soriot placing a bet on new science. Pascal Soriot had said that he intends to build up the company’s sparse drug pipeline by entering into more deals with outside partners as he tries to restock its product portfolio following a wave of patent expiries. The restructuring plan will cost AstraZeneca $2.3bn (£1.53bn) and involve shedding one in 10 jobs. At the end of AstraZeneca’s acquisition process, Pascal Soriot aims to have a more focused drug research machine, better equipped to deal with cutting-edge science.