AstraZeneca acquires ZS Pharma in $2.7 billion deal

LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish drug firm AstraZeneca has acquired U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company ZS Pharma in a deal worth $2.7 billion.

ZS Pharma was founded by Dr. Al Guillem and Dr. Jeff Keyser, both formerly with Adams Laboratories in Fort Worth. The company was a TECH Fort Worth client and also received an investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

The deal will give AstraZeneca access to ZS Pharma’s treatment for hyperkalemia, a condition of elevated potassium in the bloodstream that is associated with chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure. The treatment, potassium-binding compound ZS-9, is under regulatory review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The deal values the San Mateo, California-based company at $90 a share.

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ZS Pharma’s CEO Robert Alexander says the agreement will maximize the potential of ZS-9 and draw on AstraZeneca’s expertise in developing medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Like other big drugmakers, AstraZeneca is trying to build its product portfolio to combat competition from generic drugmakers as it loses exclusivity on top sellers. ZS Pharma had been in talks to be acquired by Actelion Ltd. of Switzerland.