AstraZeneca buys company that develops products for respiratory disease

LONDON – British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC says it is to acquire Pearl Therapeutics Inc., a Redwood-City, California-based company involved in therapies for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for at least $560 million.

The deal — which could involve further payments of up to $590 million if sales and drug development targets are met — gives AstraZeneca access to new treatments for respiratory diseases.

Savvas Neophytou, an analyst with Panmure Gordon & Co, said Monday the acquisition could give AstraZeneca access to “the holy grail” of respiratory medicine — triple agent therapy for respiratory disease.

Pearl’s lead product is PT003 and is used in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — a progressive disease associated mainly with tobacco smoking, air pollution or occupational exposure. It can cause debilitating bouts of breathlessness.