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AstraZeneca will buy Omthera in $323 million deal

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British drugmaker AstraZeneca will purchase Omthera Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Princeton, for about $323 million, the companies announced.

Under terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire Omthera for $12.70 per share. The purchase price represents a premium of 88 percent, based on the closing price Friday of Omthera’s stock. That price includes enterprise value of $260 million, plus it incorporates Omthera’s cash balances of about $63 million. The total acquisition could cost up to $443 million if certain milestones related to Omthera’s lead investigational drug, Epanova, are met.

Epanova is a fish-oil-based medicine to treat patients with high triglycerides. The drug has completed final stage clinical trials. Omthera expects to file for approval of Epanova with the Food and Drug Administration later this year.

The deal is expected to complement AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular portfolio.

Omthera focuses on developing and marketing new therapies for abnormalities in blood lipids, called dyslipidemia, and for treating cardiovascular disease.

Omthera lists 14 employees based at 707 State Road. The acquisition’s impact on Omthera’s Princeton facility was not immediately clear. A phone call and e-mail to Omthera today were not immediately returned.

The deal is contingent upon approval by Omthera shareholders as well as customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, expected in the third quarter.

Omthera closed an initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange last month.

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