Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has announced plans to buy a 55 percent stake in of privately held drug company Acerta Pharma, in order to gain access to a new blood cancer treatment.

The deal is rumoured to stand at £2.6 billion, hoping to boost revenue in the long term by taking a hit to earnings now. AstraZeneca wants to acquire Acerta’s blood cancer drug acalabrutinib, which can replace chemotherapy in the treatment of blood cancer.

AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot, said in a statement: “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 cancers.”

“By doing a dilutive acquisition we don’t make our lives easier in the short term but we are committed to our stated goals and we will manage through.”

The deal reflects a new rivalry between pharmaceutical companies, who are in fierce competition to gain access to the latest drug technologies as revenue falls in a tough market. AstraZeneca will $2.5 billion upfront, with the rest due when the acalabrutinib drug receives regulatory approval in the US.

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