AstraZeneca has signed a definitive agreement to initiate a tender offer for the acquisition of US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Icosavax for an equity price of $1.1bn. 

Icosavax develops vaccines for infectious diseases, utilising its protein virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology.

The proposed takeover will bolster AstraZeneca’s vaccines and immune therapies late-stage pipeline with the addition of IVX-A12, a lead investigational vaccine candidate of Icosavax.

A Phase III-ready asset, IVX-A12 is a combination protein VLP vaccine that acts on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV).

In a Phase II trial, IVX-A12 was shown to induce strong immune responses against RSV and hMPV a month after immunisation.

The deal will also provide AstraZeneca with access to Icosavax’s expertise in protein VLP science and development alongside technology and capabilities in protein design.

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This will aid AstraZeneca in advancing the development of IVX-A12 and other differentiated VLP vaccines for respiratory infections.

AstraZeneca vaccines and immune therapies executive vice-president Iskra Reic stated: “This virus-like particle vaccine technology has the potential to transform prevention [of] severe infectious diseases, including RSV and hMPV. 

“With the addition of Icosavax’s Phase III-ready lead asset to our late-stage pipeline, we will have a differentiated, advanced investigational vaccine and a platform for further development of combination vaccines against respiratory viruses.” 

Following the conclusion of the tender offer, a subsidiary of AstraZeneca will be merged with Icosavax. 

The deal will conclude in the first quarter of 2024.

Icosavax CEO Adam Simpson stated: “We are pleased to announce the proposed acquisition of Icosavax by AstraZeneca as we believe it offers the opportunity to accelerate and expand access to our potential first-in-class combination vaccine for older adults at risk of RSV and hMPV. 

“We look forward to combining our skills and expertise in advancing the development of IVX-A12 with AstraZeneca’s decades of experience in RSV, resources and capabilities in late-stage development.”

AstraZeneca and AbelZeta Pharma previously signed a deal to co-develop the CAR-T cell therapy, C-CAR031, for hepatocellular carcinoma.