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AstraZeneca to buy US drug firm for $39bn

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AstraZeneca is developing a Covid vaccine

British pharmaceuticals company Astrazeneca is acquiring US drugmaker Alexion in a $39bn (£29.5bn) cash and share deal.

Cambridge-headquartered AstraZeneca, which is currently one of the frontrunners in the Covid vaccine arena, expects it to increase its presence in areas such as the treatment of blood disorders, immunology and rare diseases.

Since taking over in 2012, chief executive Pascal Soriot has pushed the UK drugmaker further into niche fields such as cancer therapies. 

Astrazeneca shares have risen around 7% this year, and by almost 70% over the past three years, giving the firm a market value of £107bn.

The firm has been at the forefront of developing a vaccine for coronavirus.

The government has ordered 100m doses of the jab, compared to 40m of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine and 7m of Moderna’s.

FDA approves Pfizer vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

The agency made the announcement as more than 295,000 deaths from the virus were recorded in the US.

President Donald Trump said the first vaccinations will take place “in less than 24 hours”.

“Today our nation has achieved a medical miracle,” Mr Trump said. “We have delivered a safe and effective vaccine in just nine months.”



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