AstraZeneca to acquire ZS Pharma for $2.7 billion

6 November 2015  •  Author: Victoria White

AstraZeneca is to acquire biopharmaceutical company ZS Pharma for approximately $2.7 billion.


ZS Pharma uses its proprietary ion­-trap technology to develop novel treatments for hyperkalaemia, 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. 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. A submission for European Marketing Application Authorisation is planned by the end of 2015. Current estimates for global peak year sales of ZS-9 exceed $1 billion.

ZS Pharma acquisition complements AstraZeneca’s pipeline and portfolio

ZS Pharma represents a strong fit with AstraZeneca’s pipeline and portfolio in Cardiovascular & 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.

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 underappreciated 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.”

Robert Alexander, Chief Executive Officer, ZS Pharma, said: “This agreement will allow us to maximise the potential of ZS-9, drawing on AstraZeneca’s long-standing 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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