If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Mergers & Acquisitions

AstraZeneca to buy Fusion Pharmaceuticals for $2 billion

Drugmaker will acquire radiopharma firm in second billion-dollar deal in less than a week

by Rowan Walrath
March 19, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 9

Scientists work in a lab at AstraZeneca's Boston research & development center.
Credit: AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca's research and development center in Boston, Massachusetts

AstraZeneca is slated to buy radiopharmaceutical maker Fusion Pharmaceuticals for $2 billion, its second billion-plus-dollar buy in less than a week.

With the acquisition of Fusion, the pharma giant gains a suite of radioconjugates, including a drug candidate for prostate cancer that’s in midstage clinical trials and several earlier-stage compounds directed at various solid tumors. Fusion’s radioconjugates attach α-emitting radioactive isotopes to antibodies to deliver them directly to tumors. The isotopes then irradiate at short distances, killing cancer cells more precisely than chemotherapy can.

Analysts are bullish on radiopharmaceuticals. In a research note, William Blair’s Andy T. Hsieh and Alexandra V. Ramsey wrote that the modality would “likely provide investors with a secular growth opportunity well into the next decade,” and would benefit Big Pharma in particular, pointing to Eli Lilly and Company’s acquisition of Point Biopharma and Bristol Myers Squibb’s acquisition of RayzeBio, both within the past 6 months.

“It is our view that ownership of isotope production could be viewed as a significant competitive advantage in the lens of Big Pharma,” they wrote.

AstraZeneca also recently agreed to acquire French firm Amolyt Pharma for $1.05 billion—$800 million in cash when the deal closes and $250 million in a milestone payment. That purchase bolsters AstraZeneca’s rare disease business, a strategic move that began with its acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals in 2021. Amolyt is developing drugs for endocrine diseases, including hypoparathyroidism.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.