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AstraZeneca bets on new cancer treatments with $2 billion Fusion Pharma purchase

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The deal is AstraZeneca’s second this month after it agreed last week to buy Amolyt Pharma for $1.05 billion to shore up its rare disease portfolio

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it will buy clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc for about $2 billion in cash as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker bets on next-generation cancer treatments.

The deal is AstraZeneca’s second this month after it agreed last week to buy Amolyt Pharma for $1.05 billion to shore up its rare disease portfolio.

The drugmaker will pay $21 per Fusion share, a premium of more than 97 per cent to the U.S.-listed company’s closing price on Monday.

Fusion is developing “next-generation” radioconjugates (RCs) to treat cancer.

RCs deliver a radioactive isotope directly to cancer cells through precise targeting using molecules and have emerged as a promising modality in cancer treatment over recent years, AstraZeneca said.

Fusion’s most advanced programme is the FPI-2265, which is currently in a mid-stage trial to treat patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

“Between 30 and 50 per cent of patients with cancer today receive radiotherapy at some point during treatment, and the acquisition of Fusion furthers our ambition to transform this aspect of care with nextgeneration radioconjugates,” said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president, Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy have been the mainstays of cancer treatment for decades.

AstraZeneca has been working on other approaches to develop more targeted cancer treatments, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and RCs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved ADCs in 2000 and radioconjugates in 2018.

AstraZeneca will also pay a non-transferable contingent value right of $3 per share, taking the combined transaction value to about $2.4 billion.

Fusion announced in January that it has aligned with the FDA on its submitted Phase 2/3 protocol for FPI-2265, with a Phase 3, or late-stage, registrational trial expected to begin in 2025.

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