AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has moved to strengthen its position in the immuno-oncology field, expanding its collaboration with French biotech company Innate Pharma, the Anglo-Swedish group has said. The London-listed pharmco has bet on oncology as one of its key therapy areas expected to deliver growth going forward.
AstraZeneca’s share price has inched higher in London this morning, having gained 0.13 percent to 5,983.00p as of 09:36 BST. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen deep into the red and currently standing 0.88 percent lower at 6,980.62 points.
Innate Pharma deal
AstraZeneca announced a new multi-term agreement with Innate Pharma, building on an existing collaboration between the two companies. The Anglo-Swedish group expects the extended collaboration to enrich its immuno-oncology portfolio with pre-clinical and clinical potential new medicines.
The extended collaboration will see the FTSE 100 group acquire a 9.8 percent stake in the French biotech company through the issuance of 6,260,500 new shares at €10 per share. AstraZeneca will also obtain full oncology rights to experimental treatment monalizumab, an antibody, gain option rights to another antibody, as well as four pre-clinical molecules from Innate’s pipeline. The French group meanwhile will gain rights to sell AstraZeneca’s rare blood cancer drug Lumoxiti, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Today’s deal comes after a late-stage trial showed that AstraZeneca’s oncology treatment Lynparza had cut risk of disease progression or death by 70 percent in patients with a specific type of ovarian cancer.
Analysts on FTSE 100 group
Shore Capital and Liberum both reaffirmed AstraZeneca as a ‘hold’ this week, without specifying a price target on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 5,777.58p.
AstraZeneca is scheduled to update investors on its third-quarter performance on November 8.