June 10, 2013

Acquisition of Pearl enhances AstraZeneca’s respiratory portfolio.

On June 10th, AstraZeneca announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Willkie client Pearl Therapeutics, a privately held company based in Redwood City, California, focused on the development of inhaled small-molecule therapeutics for respiratory disease, for $1.15 billion.  AstraZeneca is a leading global biopharmaceuticals company and the U.K.'s second-largest drug company.  Pearl has advanced a potential new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), currently in late-stage development, and inhaler and formulation technology that will provide a platform for future combination products.  Willkie represented Pearl and its shareholders, led by Vatera Healthcare Partners, in the transaction.

Pearl’s lead product, PT003, is a fixed dose combination of formoterol fumarate, a long-acting beta-2-agonist (LABA) and glycopyrrolate, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA). LABA/LAMA combinations are expected to become an important new class of treatment for COPD.

The Willkie deal team was led by partners Gordon Caplan and Rosalind Fahey Kruse and associates Sean Ewen and David Marley.

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