AstraZeneca buys fish-oils drug maker Omthera


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The Independent Online

AstraZeneca is spending up to $443m (£293m) to buy a US heart-medicine business in an attempt to resuscitate the drug maker's dwindling pipeline of new products.

The acquisition of Omthera Pharmaceuticals is one of the first big deals for Pascal Soriot, who took the helm at Britain's second-biggest pharmaceuticals company in October and set out a strategy to restock AstraZeneca's drugs cabinet with cardiovascular, cancer, respiratory and inflammation medicines. Omthera Pharmaceuticals uses fish oils to produce treatments for people who are obese, diabetic or suffering from cardiovascular disease, with its big hope being Epanova, a pill aimed at lowering the level of triglycerides, or fats, in the blood.

The medicine has already gone through final-stage clinical trials and is set to be submitted for regulatory approval in the key American market in weeks. A string of AstraZeneca's big-selling drugs fell out of patent last year as revenues fell 17 per cent to £27.9bn.