FILE PHOTO: The logo for AstraZeneca is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., March 22, 2021. REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski/File Photo

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Monday (January 9) that it had struck a deal to buy US-based drug developer CinCor Pharma for up to $1.8 billion to increase its stock of heart and kidney drugs.

Core to the deal is CinCor‘s experimental therapy baxdrostat, which is in development to treat conditions including high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

AstraZeneca aims to combine baxdrostat with its own Farxiga, a diabetes drug whose sales ballooned after it was also shown to benefit patients with heart failure and kidney disease.

Farxiga, whose sales jumped by almost 50 per cent during the first nine months of 2022 to reach $3.2 billion, belongs to a highly competitive class of drugs that includes rivals such as Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Jardiance.

AstraZeneca gets about a third of its revenue from cancer drugs, but its heart, kidney and diabetes medicines are its second most lucrative business by sales, generating roughly $6.9 billion of the drugmaker’s total revenue of more than $33 billion in the first three quarters of 2022.

Farxiga and the oncology drugs Lynparza and Calquence could face generic competition as early as 2024, BMO Capital Market analysts said in a note last week, citing their own assumptions and company filings.

In theory, a combination of baxdrostat with Farxiga could enable AstraZeneca to prolong its Farxiga franchise, Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of bioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said.

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