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AstraZeneca to buy Boston pharmaceutical firm Alexion for $39B

A general view of the AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney, Australia, in August. Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca made a deal to buy Boston-based pharmaceutical firm Alexion Saturday. EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
A general view of the AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney, Australia, in August. Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca made a deal to buy Boston-based pharmaceutical firm Alexion Saturday. EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- British drugmaker AstraZeneca agreed Saturday to buy the Boston pharmaceutical firm Alexion for $39 billion in cash and stock.

The deal is one of the biggest for a healthcare company this year.

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AstraZeneca will pay $60 in cash and 2.1243 of its American depositary receipts for each of Alexion's shares, or $175 a share -- a nearly 45 percent premium to Alexion's closing price Friday.

The merger bolsters AstraZeneca's offerings for rare diseases such as blood disorders, and comes as corporate boards have begun to resume big deals after battening down the hatches in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AstraZeneca, which is headquartered in Cambridge, England, is in the final stages of testing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed in partnership with the University of Oxford.

It is considered one of the more prominent candidates, but its efficacy -- and AstraZeneca's transparency -- has been called into question.

Interim data published this week said the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine prevents infection in 62% of people who receive two full doses, and in 90% of those given a half dose followed by a full dose.

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