UK competition regulator looking into $39 bln AstraZeneca-Alexion deal

The $39 billion acquisition of the United States based firm Alexion by the British pharma giant AstraZeneca is being reviewed by the competition regulator of the United Kingdom because of its concerns that the company formed by the merger will have a negative impact on completion in the industry in the UK and elsewhere.

Comments from any interested party on the deal were being invited by the British competition regulator – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in order to help it to make an assessment of the likely impact of the deal, the CMA said on Tuesday. The body has set a date of June 3 to receive the last submissions form interested parties.

The decision to acquire Alexion was announced in December by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, which is also a major producer of Covid-19 vaccine. This is also the largest ever deal made by the company. According to analysts, AstraZeneca hopes to venture further into the rare-disease and immunology drugs segment as well as to diversify away from its fast-growing cancer business with the help of this acquisition. 

The deal was approved earlier this month by the shareholders of the Cambridge, UK-based AstraZeneca at a general meeting of the company.

The deal has already been approved by the competition regulator of the United States as well as other countries linked to the deal including Canada, Brazil and Russia.

“The commencement of the UK CMA’s formal review is another important step towards closing of the proposed acquisition, which we continue to expect will be in the third quarter of 2021,” a representative for AstraZeneca said.

There were no immediate comments from Alexion about the review decision of the deal by the British competition regulator. The best selling drugs of the company is Soliris which is put to use by the medical practitioners for treatment of a wide range of rare immune disorders which include treatments for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) which result sin anaemia and blood clots among humans.

According to analysts, the hope of AstraZeneca is that if it was possible to develop an improved version of the drug, it would have a much greater potential for success and generating revenues. The company expects that the introduction and launch of Alexion’s rare disease medicines to China and other emerging markets will be a major booster for its growth prospects throughout the world.

(Adapted from


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