Transaction includes late-stage, potential best-in-class irreversible small
molecule BTK inhibitor, acalabrutinib

Opportunity for first regulatory submissions in haematological malignancies in

Investment establishes in-house expertise in blood cancers and complements
strategic use of immunotherapy in haematological malignancies and solid tumours

AstraZeneca today announced that it has entered into an agreement to invest in a
majority equity stake in Acerta Pharma, a privately-owned biopharmaceutical
company based in the Netherlands and US. The transaction provides AstraZeneca
with a potential best-in-class irreversible oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK)
inhibitor, acalabrutinib (ACP-196), currently in Phase III development for B
-cell blood cancers and in Phase I/II clinical trials in multiple solid tumours.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: “The investment is
consistent with our focus on long-term growth and reflects the role targeted
business development plays in our business model. We are boosting a key area in
our comprehensive oncology portfolio with a late-stage, potential best-in-class
medicine that could transform treatment for patients across a range of blood

“Acalabrutinib provides us with a small molecule presence in blood cancers to
complement our existing immunotherapy approach, in collaboration with Celgene in
haematological malignancies. Furthermore, we look forward to working closely
with the Acerta team and benefiting from the considerable clinical expertise
they bring in this complex area of medicine.”

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire 55% of the entire
issued share capital of Acerta for an upfront payment of $2.5 billion. A further
unconditional payment of $1.5 billion will be paid either on receipt of the
first regulatory approval for acalabrutinib for any indication in the US, or the
end of 2018, depending on which is first. The agreement also includes options
which, if exercised, provide the opportunity for Acerta shareholders to sell,
and AstraZeneca to buy, the remaining 45% of shares in Acerta. The options can
be exercised at various points in time, conditional on the first approval of
acalabrutinib in both the US and Europe and when the extent of the commercial
opportunity has been fully established, at a price of approximately $3 billion
net of certain costs and payments incurred by AstraZeneca and net of agreed
future adjusting items, using a pre-agreed pricing mechanism.

An extensive development programme is underway for acalabrutinib with the
opportunity for initial regulatory submissions in the second half of 2016 for
the treatment of patients with specific types of haematological malignancies.
Expanding further into B-cell cancers, acalabrutinib is estimated to reach
potential peak-year sales in excess of $5 billion globally. AstraZeneca will
also benefit from the substantial expertise in haematological cancers offered by
Acerta’s approximately 150 employees.

The BTK inhibitor class is transforming the treatment of B-cell blood cancers,
allowing a potentially more effective treatment option with limited side
effects, replacing current chemotherapy and antibody-containing regimens.
Acalabrutinib is a highly selective, irreversible, next-generation small
molecule oral BTK inhibitor supported by strong clinical evidence, with
approximately 1,000 patients treated to date, of whom more than 600 were on the
potential medicine as monotherapy. Data indicate that acalabrutinib offers
enhanced BTK inhibition. Phase I/II data presented at the recent American
Society of Haematology Annual Meeting 2015 showed a 95% response rate in
patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the most prevalent form of
adult leukaemia, and a 100% overall response rate in the difficult-to-treat 17p
deletion patients1.

In addition, acalabrutinib has the potential to address an unmet medical need
for patients who are intolerant to or unsuitable for first generation BTK
inhibitor treatment. Currently 20-30% of patients discontinue first-generation
therapy due to tolerability issues2.

John C. Byrd MD, Professor and Director, Division of Haematology, Department of
Medicine, at The Ohio State University School of Medicine, said: “The BTK
inhibitor class has been transformational in the management of B-cell cancers
but a portion of patients treated with ibrutinib (the first generation BTK
inhibitor), can’t tolerate the side effects and sadly discontinue their
treatment. The acalabrutinib data are highly encouraging as they show that high
selectivity, a short half-life and an optimised dosing schedule result in very
high efficacy and a significantly better tolerability profile with very low
discontinuation rates. Acalabrutinib may potentially offer improved long-term
benefit over other options available for these patients.”

In addition to blood cancers, acalabrutinib is currently being explored in Phase
I/II studies in combination with immunotherapy or chemotherapies in a range of
solid tumours. Pre-clinical data show that acalabrutinib has an immune
-modulatory effect that, as monotherapy and alongside PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies, has
the potential to enhance anti-tumour activity.

Acerta will initially be a majority owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca; if
AstraZeneca acquires the remaining shares of the company in the future, Acerta
would become a wholly-owned subsidiary. The transaction will be accounted for as
a business combination and is expected to complete by the end of the first
quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. The initial
acquisition payment of $2.5 billion will be funded from cash and debt. The
agreement is expected to be moderately dilutive to AstraZeneca’s core earnings
in the near term.

For the purposes of the UK Listing Authority’s Listing Rule LR 10.4.1 R
(Notification of class 2 transactions), the fair value of gross assets acquired
with the transaction is estimated to be $5.7 billion and, in view of the
development phase of the medicine, a pre-tax loss of $80 million was
attributable to Acerta during the year to 31 December 2014.

Full Year 2016 guidance is expected to be provided at Full Year 2015 results on
4 February 2016.

Conference call for investors and analysts

AstraZeneca will host a conference call for investors and analysts at 13:00 GMT
on 17 December 2016. A presentation will be available for download from the
Investor Relations section of (
(Our company/Investors) one hour before the conference call starts.

Telephone dial-in details for investors and analysts:

UK Freephone: 0800 694 2573

International standard: +44 (0) 1452 580 733

Sweden: 0200 883 198

US: 877 391 1148

Conference code: 8984139

A replay will be available from 17 December at 15:00 GMT to 30 December 15:00
GMT, the dial-in details are:

UK Freephone: 0800 953 1533

International standard: +44 (0) 1452 550000

US: 866 247 4222

Conference code: 8984139


1 John C. Byrd, M.D. et al, NEJM, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1509981 Published online 7

2 Maddocks et al, JAMA Oncol. DOI:10.1001/jamaoncol.2014.218 Published online
February 26, 2015.

About Acalabrutinib

Acalabrutinib is a highly selective, irreversible, second generation BTK
inhibitor, with approximately 1,000 patients treated to date in clinical studies
across the entire development programme. More than 600 patients have been
treated with acalabrutinib monotherapy. Phase I/II data showing a favourable
safety profile and strong efficacy in relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic
leukaemia patients was presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual
Meeting & Exposition in December 2015, with simultaneous publication in the New
England Journal of Medicine.

Potentially registrational studies in haematological malignancies are expected
to be submitted for regulatory filings in second half 2016. In addition, a head
-to-head study versus ibrutinib in high risk chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
patients is currently ongoing.

Acalabrutinib is also currently being tested in multiple Phase I/II studies in
solid tumours, as monotherapy or in combination with immune checkpoint
inhibitors or other standard of care regimens.

About Acerta Pharma

Acerta is a leader in the field of covalent binding technology and is applying
this technology to create novel selective therapies intended for the treatment
of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Acerta’s lead molecule, acalabrutinib (ACP
-196), is a selective and potent inhibitor of BTK. Acerta is also developing ACP
-319, a novel isoform selective inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)
delta. The company has operations in Oss, the Netherlands and multiple U.S.
sites. The U.S. headquarters is in Redwood City, CA.

About AstraZeneca in Oncology

Oncology is a therapeutic area in which AstraZeneca has a deep-rooted heritage.
It will be potentially transformational for the company’s future, becoming the
sixth growth platform. Our vision is to help patients by redefining the cancer
treatment paradigm and one day eliminate cancer as a cause of death. By 2020, we
are aiming to bring six new cancer medicines to patients.

Our broad pipeline of next-generation medicines is focused on four main disease
areas – ovarian, lung, breast and haematological cancers. These are being
targeted through four key platforms – immuno-oncology, the genetic drivers of
cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair and antibody drug conjugates.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that
focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription
medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas –
respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular and metabolic
disease and oncology – as well as in infection and neuroscience. AstraZeneca
operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions
of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:


Media Enquiries
Esra Erkal-Paler UK/Global +44 20 7604 8030
Neil Burrows UK/Global +44 20 7604 8032
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Karen Birmingham UK/Global +44 20 7604 8120
Jacob Lund Sweden +46 8 553 260 20
Michele Meixell US +1 302 885 2677
Investor Enquiries
Thomas Kudsk Larsen Oncology +44 7818 524185
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Christer Gruvris Consensus Forecasts +44 7827 836825
Lindsey Trickett Oncology, ING +1 240 543 7970
Mitch Chan Oncology +1 240 477 3771
Dial / Toll-Free +1 866 381 7277

Key: RIA – Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity, CVMD – Cardiovascular and
Metabolic Disease,
ING – Infection, Neuroscience and Gastrointestinal

17 December 2015