FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin

UK REGULATORS EYE ASTRAZENECA/CAT DEAL

May 26, 2006
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AstraZeneca's proposal to buy out Cambridge Antibody Technology Group(CAT) will be reviewed for any potential antitrust violations, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said.

AstraZeneca, which currently holds 19.2 percent of CAT, announced that it intends to buy the company's remaining shares for slightly more than the equivalent of $1.07 billion. The OFT said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange it will first consider whether this transaction is considered a merger under the terms of British law.

If so, the OFT will determine whether that arrangement would "result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services that warrant reference to the Competition Commission for investigation."

AstraZeneca said in the May 15 announcement the takeover of CAT will increase its R&D capacity for developing biological therapeutics. The company intends to expand its focus to include such therapeutic areas as respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infection, neuroscience, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal.