AstraZeneca to buy Icosavax in agreement worth up to $1.1B

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AstraZeneca has agreed to buy vaccine developer Icosavax in a deal worth up to $1.1 billion.

The acquisition will give AstraZeneca rights to a combination vaccine candidate that simultaneously targets two respiratory viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV). The vaccine candidate is currently on its way into Phase III testing.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire Icosavax’s shares at $15 apiece; the firm may add another $5 per share if certain milestones are met. The acquisition would be worth $1.1 billion should AstraZeneca make these future payouts. The upfront payment from AstraZeneca represents an equity value of about $838 million, a premium of about 43% to Icosavax’s closing price on Monday. Shares in Icosavax rose 45% to $15.25 in U.S. pre-market trading.

Icosavax released Phase II study results Tuesday on its website that indicate that the vaccine, currently known as IVX-A12, triggered an immune response against both viruses without causing serious adverse events.

AstraZeneca will now take over the late-stage development and commercialization (if successful) of IVX-A12.

There are currently no preventive therapies or treatments for hMPV; additionally, there are no combination vaccines for RSV with other infections. Both infections are leading causes of hospitalization for the elderly.

RSV vaccines by GSK and Pfizer both received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in May; in July, the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s and Sanofi’s Beyfortus for RSV in infants and toddlers.

Previously, AstraZeneca collaborated with Oxford University during the pandemic to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, which was released in 2021.

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