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AstraZeneca has agreed to acquire US-based biotechnology company Ardea Biosciences for $1.26bn.

Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, the Anglo-Swedish drugs giant will pay $32 per share to Ardea Biosciences, whose lead product Lesinurad is currently in Phase III development as a potential treatment for the chronic management of hyperuricaemia in patients with gout.

The transaction represents a 55% premium to Ardea’s closing price on April 20th.

AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said, "This attractive Phase III programme is an excellent opportunity to leverage AstraZeneca’s global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities."

The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the terms of the agreement and the transaction is expected to complete in the second or third quarter of 2012.

Ardea shareholders representing approximately 30% of the current total shares outstanding have entered into a voting agreement with AstraZeneca to vote in favour of the transaction.


Image: AstraZeneca is expected to by Ardea Biosciences by the third quarter of 2012. Credit: AstraZeneca.