AstraZeneca Plc (AZN: Quote,AZN.L) said it entered into a definitive merger agreement with Ardea Biosciences, Inc. (RDEA: Quote), pursuant to which AstraZeneca will acquire Ardea. Under the deal terms, AstraZeneca will acquire Ardea for $32 per share which represents a total cash value of approximately $1.26 billion, including existing cash.
This represents a premium on the value of Ardea's stock of 50% based on the one month volume-weighted average price and 54% based on the closing price on Friday, April 20, 2012.
The transaction will close in the second or third quarter of 2012. Ardea shareholders representing approximately 30% of the current total shares outstanding have entered into a voting agreement with AstraZeneca to vote in favour of the transaction.
Ardea's clinically most advanced product candidate, lesinurad, is currently in Phase III development as a potential treatment for the chronic management of hyperuricaemia in patients with gout. AstraZeneca also plans to develop and commercialise lesinurad in China and Japan. AstraZeneca will supplement Ardea's existing capabilities to progress lesinurad Phase III development programme and regulatory submissions. The company will seek to absorb the further development costs of the Ardea compounds in its existing R&D programme.
Through this acquisition, AstraZeneca would also add to its pipeline RDEA3170, a next-generation selective URAT1 inhibitor currently in Phase I development.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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