British pharma titan AstraZeneca is attempting to solve its patent dilemma with cash.In late April,the company shelled out 1.26 billion dollars for San Diego biotech firm Ardea Biosciences.Ardea's main prospect is gout treatment Lesinurad.
According to AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan,this attractive Phase 3 program is an excellent opportunity to leverage Astra's global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities.
Ardea is also developing combination treatments for pancreatic and liver cancer with Germany's Bayer AG,plus another gout drug in Phase 1 trials.
Astra is losing patent protection on many of its blockbuster products over the next few years.Billions in revenue will be lost as patents expire and generic competition cuts into sales of hypertension drug Atacand(2013);antipsychotic drug Seroquel and anti-cholesterol pill Crestor(2014);and gastroesophageal reflex disease pill Nexium in 2016.
This strategy was in place several years ago when Astra also acquired Gaithersburg,Maryland biotech firm MedImmune in 2007.
AstraZeneca(AZN),Ardea Biosciences(RDEA),Bayer AG(BAYRY)