AstraZeneca to Spend Up to $1.15 Billion on New Acquisition


LONDON -- The shares of AstraZeneca added 1 pence to 3,302 pence during early London trade this morning after the company said it would spend up to $1.15 billion buying an American developer of treatments for lung disorders.

The FTSE 100 member confirmed it would acquire Pearl Therapeutics for an initial $560 million and would pay up to a further $450 million should certain development and regulatory milestones be achieved.

In addition, up to a further $140 million could be payable based on Pearl's future sales.

Pearl, based in California, develops inhaled treatments for respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's chief executive, said this morning:

Pearl's novel formulation technology, together with its development products and specialist expertise are a great complement to AstraZeneca's long-established capabilities in respiratory disease, one of our core therapy areas.

Kevin Ferro, the chairman of Pearl Therapeutics, said:

We believe AstraZeneca will provide significant value in supporting the further development and registration of our lead product, PT003, and in leveraging our technology platform to realise future products including a triple agent therapy for respiratory disease.

AstraZeneca claimed the purchase would not affect its financial guidance for 2013, whereby revenues are predicted to fall between 5% and 10% and profits are projected to drop "significantly more."

However, a $2.80 -- or 185 pence -- per-share dividend declared for 2012 currently supports a 5.6% yield.

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