AstraZeneca to pay up to $6.9B for cancer drug

In a move to enhance its cancer drug pipeline, AstraZeneca agreed to pay up to $6.9 billion to a Japanese drugmaker for the shared rights to a new cancer drug, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Under the deal, AstraZeneca will pay $1.35 billion up front to Daiichi Sankyo Co., for access to the drug. Further payments hinge on the drug's development and sales performance. In return, AstraZeneca will receive half the profits from future sales.

The drug, DS-8201, treats cancers including breast, gastric and lung, that produce a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 protein. The drug combines breast cancer treatment Herceptin with another drug that has shown promising results.  

In comparison to normal chemotherapy that can't differentiate between tumor and normal cells, the therapy is designed to only target cancer cells.

Analysts expect that the therapy at its peak could reach annual sales of more than $3 billion, according to the report.

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