Global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to acquire Ardea Bioscience, a San Diego-based biotechnology company focused on the development of small-molecule therapeutics.
AstraZeneca will acquire Ardea for $32 per share, representing a total cash value of approximately $1.26 billion, including existing cash. This represents a 50% premium on the value of Ardea’s stock based on the one month volume-weighted average price and 54% premium based on the closing price on April 20, 2012.
“We are delighted to be joining AstraZeneca,” said Barry D. Quart, president and CEO of Ardea. “From our earliest interactions, we were impressed with the quality of AstraZeneca’s people and we are confident their commercial strength and global reach will help realize the full potential of our programs.”
Through the acquisition AstraZeneca will gain Ardea’s advanced product candidate, lesinurad (formerly known as RDEA594), currently in phase III development as a potential oral treatment for the chronic management of hyperuricaemia in patients with gout. Lesinurad is a selective inhibitor of URAT1, a transporter in the proximal tubule cells of the kidney that regulates uric acid excretion from the body. Filings for a New Drug Application (NDA) in the U.S. and a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) in the E.U. are planned for the first half of 2014. AstraZeneca also plans to develop and commercialize lesinurad in China and Japan.
“This attractive phase III program is an excellent opportunity to leverage AstraZeneca’s global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities,” said David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca. “The Ardea team has done a great job developing lesinurad along with a promising next-generation gout program. These compounds have real potential to benefit patients.”
AstraZeneca will also add to its pipeline RDEA3170, a next-generation selective URAT1 inhibitor currently in phase I development.
The companies’ boards of directors have unanimously approved the terms of the agreement, and Ardea’s board has recommended that its shareholders approve the transaction. Ardea shareholders, representing approximately 30% of the current total shares outstanding, have entered into a voting agreement with AstraZeneca to vote in favor of the transaction.
Subject to shareholder approval, as well as customary regulatory approvals, the transaction will close in the second or third quarter of 2012.