AstraZeneca to acquire French Novexel

On Wednesday, Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca announced a $350 million deal for the purchase of French antibiotics manufacturer Novexel.

The acquisition will boost the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant’s portfolio of anti-infection drugs.

“AstraZeneca has agreed to acquire 100 percent of Novexel’s shares for $350 million in cash… and will pay up to an additional 75 million dollars to Novexel shareholders if specified development milestones are reached,” the company said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the acquisition of Novexel will contribute to AstraZeneca’s pipeline of anti-infection drugs, a pharmaceutical area where demand is being driven by the ever-increasing development of bacterial resistance to existing antibiotics.

The deal, which will also expand AstraZeneca’s collaboration with American drug company Forest Laboratories Inc., is focused on Novexel’s two most advanced drug programs, CAZ104 and CEF104, which are being developed to treat infections that have gained resistance to current treatments.

Forest signed an agreement with Novexel in January 2008 granting it the right to develop CEF104 in North America.

“Building AstraZeneca’s anti-infective portfolio has become a strategic priority as antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses a growing threat to human health,” said Anders Ekblom, AstraZeneca Executive Vice-President of Development in a statement.

“The innovative structure of this agreement allows us to build on our existing collaboration with Forest to create value, share costs, and reduce exposure to risk while developing two novel antibiotic combinations that address a growing problem for clinicians and patients. Utilising Novexel’s NXL-104, these combinations have the potential to outwit bacteria that would otherwise be resistant to antibiotics,” Ekblom continued.

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