AstraZeneca acquires ZS Pharma to strengthen cardiovascular and metabolic disease portfolio

Acquisition includes potential best-in-class hyperkalaemia treatment and is expected to benefit AstraZeneca’s return to growth strategy

AstraZeneca has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ZS Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company based in San Mateo (California, USA).

ZS Pharma uses its proprietary ion­-trap technology to develop novel treatments for hyperkalaemia (high potassium levels), a serious condition of elevated potassium in the bloodstream, typically associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and chronic heart failure (CHF).

The transaction will give AstraZeneca access to the potassium-binding compound ZS-9, a potential best-in-class treatment for hyperkalaemia, a condition associated with increased mortality in CKD and CHF. ZS-9 is under regulatory review by the US Food and Drug Administration with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date of 26 May 2016.

The acquisition continues AstraZeneca’s track record of targeted business development with a focus on three main therapy areas. ZS Pharma represents a strong fit with AstraZeneca’s pipeline and portfolio in cardiovascular and metabolic disease, one of the company’s three main therapy areas. ZS-9 complements the company’s increasing focus on CKD and CHF, including the investigational medicine roxadustat, which is currently in Phase III development for patients with anaemia associated with CKD, as well as its leading diabetes portfolio.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: ‘Hyperkalaemia can be a life-threatening condition for patients with chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure; however, the risk is under-appreciated and prevalence is increasing. This acquisition complements our strategic focus on cardiovascular and metabolic disease by adding a potential best-in-class treatment to our portfolio of innovative medicines. We look forward to welcoming the ZS Pharma team to AstraZeneca.’

Robert Alexander, Chief Executive Officer, ZS Pharma, said: ‘This agreement will allow us to maximise the potential of ZS-9, drawing on AstraZeneca’s longstanding expertise in developing and commercialising medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We look forward to joining AstraZeneca and to working together to bring this important treatment for hyperkalaemia to the global market, helping to meet an important unmet medical need for patients.’

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