AstraZeneca Inks Biologics Pact | November 29, 2004 Issue - Vol. 82 Issue 48 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 82 Issue 48 | p. 6 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 29, 2004

AstraZeneca Inks Biologics Pact

Alliance with Cambridge Antibody Technology targets inflammatory disease
Department: Business

AstraZeneca and Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) have formed a five-year R&D agreement under which they will pursue monoclonal antibody research, in the area of inflammatory disorders. AstraZeneca will pay $140 million for a 20% equity stake in the U.K.-based biopharmaceutical company. The two plan to invest at least $175 million in the project.

Under the agreement, CAT will be responsible for antibody discovery, process development, and supply of materials for clinical trials. AstraZeneca will be responsible for the trials, regulatory filings, and commercialization.

AstraZeneca last year formed an alliance with California-based Abgenix to discover monoclonal antibodies for cancer treatment. AstraZeneca made a $100 million up-front equity payment to Abgenix.

AstraZeneca CEO Sir Tom McKillop says the CAT alliance is “a major component of AstraZeneca’s strategy to develop new therapeutics for inflammatory and respiratory diseases.” Peter Chambré, CEO of CAT, notes that the deal will link his company’s strength in early-stage development of biologics with AstraZeneca’s strength in late-stage product development.

The agreement provides a timely boost to both companies, each of which has taken hits recently. The safety of AstraZeneca’s cholesterol drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) was called into question in congressional hearings earlier this month (see page 16), and an FDA advisory committee told the company in October that more data are needed to support approval of its oral anticoagulant Exanta (ximelagatran).

CAT learned in October that Trabio (lerdelimumab), its treatment of glaucoma and cataracts, failed in Phase I clinical trials. Also, Abbott Laboratories is suing CAT over royalties for Humira (adalimumab), a rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

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