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AstraZeneca to raise $3.5bn for cancer collab, bond repayment

Christian Fernsby |
AstraZeneca plans to raise $3.5bn (£2.7bn) in a share placing to fund a new cancer drug collaboration with Japan's Daiichi Sankyo and repay some of its bonds.

The collaboration is to accelerate the development of the Japanese company's novel HER2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, trastuzumab deruxtecan, expanding the treatment across breast and other cancers.

Astra will pay $1.35bn of the net placing cash to Daiichi Sankyo, of which half will be paid up-front and the rest in 12 months' time. There are also expected to be roughly $1bn of approval and sales-related contingent milestone payments starting from next year until 2022.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan is currently in development for the treatment of multiple HER2-expressing cancers, including breast and gastric cancer, and in patients with HER2-low expression.

In 2017, the US regulator awarded the conjugate was breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive, locally-advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have been treated with trastuzumab and pertuzumab and have disease progression after trastuzumab emtansine.

Astra chief executive Pascal Soriot said: "We believe that trastuzumab deruxtecan could become a transformative new medicine for the treatment of HER2-positive breast and gastric cancers.

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