AstraZeneca leapfrogs Actelion with $2.7B deal for ZS Pharma
- In a $2.7 billion deal for ZS Pharma, AstraZeneca will be getting its hands on one of the company's major assets—ZS-9, a late-stage kidney drug for treatment of hyperkalemia.
- A regulatory decision on ZS-9 is expected by May 26, 2016.
- The deal between ZS Pharma and AZ is expected to close at the end of the year.
It was a close race between AZ and Actelion Pharma to buy ZS Pharma—but Astra's come out on top. Now, the British pharma giant hopes to win approval of its soon-to-be-acquired hyperkalemia drug, which could have sales above the $1 billion mark at its peak.
Hyperkalemia, or higher than normal potassium levels (typically defined as a serum potassium level > 5 mEq/L), is a life-threatening metabolic condition that can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death, and there are very few treatment options available.
There is a potential downside, however, and that's the specter of competition. Last month, when Relypsa's potassium-blocking Veltassa was approved for hyperkalemia, the FDA demanded a black-box warning because of its effects on other drugs a patient may be taking.
The deal is structured as follows: AZ will trade $90 per share of ZS. In addition, it will merge ZS Pharma and its 200 employees from the U.S. location into its operations.