AstraZeneca to Buy Cambridge Antibody Technology

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

AstraZeneca PLC (London, England) has agreed to acquire the biopharmaceutical company Cambridge Antibody Technology Group PLC (CAT, Cambridge, England).

AstraZeneca PLC (London, England, agreed to acquirebiopharmaceutical company Cambridge Antibody Technology Group PLC (CAT,Cambridge, England, for £567 million($1.1 billion). AstraZeneca already holds a 19.2% stake in CAT, placingthe total value of the deal at £702 million ($1.3 billion).

AstraZeneca says the move allows it to create major research anddevelopment capabilities in biological therapeutics. "This acquisitionrepresents a major long-term strategic investment by AstraZeneca innovel biologics therapeutics," said AstraZeneca's CEO David Brennan, ina company release. "It is our intention to both expand and broaden thescope of our discovery and development pipeline and we expect that by2010, up to a quarter of our candidates for full scale development willbe biological therapeutic agents."

AstraZeneca and CAT formed a collaboration and license agreement todiscover and develop human monoclonal antibodies  jointly in late2004. AstraZeneca made its initial investment in CAT at that time.

With the acquisition, AstraZeneca also acquires a royalty stream onsales of "Humira," (adalimumab), an antibody-based treatment forarthritis that was isolated and optimized by CAT in collaboration withAbbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL, Abbott reported 2005 sales of$1.4 billion for Humira.

CAT is focused on developing human monoclonal antibodies. It has sixCAT-derived human monoclonal antibodies licensed to partners at variousstates of development to Abbott, Human Genome Sciences, Inc.(Rockville, MD,, andWyeth (Madison, NJ, also has licensed its proprietary technologies and patents toseveral companies, including Amgen, Inc. (Thousand Oaks, CA,,Genzyme Corporation (Cambridge, MA,, Merck & Co., Inc.(Whitehouse Station, NJ,,and Pfizer, Inc. (New York, NY,