AstraZeneca to buy cancer drug firm for $440m

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AstraZeneca, the UK’s second-largest drug maker, is set to boost its pipeline of cancer treatments after agreeing to buy privately-owned biotech firm Spirogen for up to $440 million (£275.4m).

The deal between AstraZeneca’s MedImmune subsidiary and London-based Spirogen comes less than two months after MedImmune sealed a $500m deal to buy US cancer drug specialist Amplimmune.

Spirogen was formed in 2001 as a spin-out from a number of institutions, including University College London, with partial funding from Cancer Research UK. It is majority owned by private equity firm Auven Therapeutics.

MedImmune is paying $200m up front for Spirogen, with a further payment of up to $240m depending on development progress.

The US-based company is also investing $20m in ADC Therapeutics, another oncology specialist in Auven’s portfolio, to collaborate on treatments.