AstraZeneca Buys Texas-Born Biotech ZS Pharma in $2.7B Deal

British drugmaker AstraZeneca said Friday it is acquiring ZS Pharma for $2.7 billion.

ZS Pharma was founded in the Fort Worth suburb of Coppell, TX, and relocated to San Mateo, CA following the company’s $107 million IPO last year. The biotech’s primary drug, ZS-9, aims to reduce levels of potassium levels in patients who have hyperkalemia, a chronic kidney disease that affects 26 million people in the U.S.

AstraZeneca said the drug candidate will boost its pipeline of therapies that target cardiovascular and metabolic disease, one of the company’s three main therapy areas. The drugmaker said it would pay $90 a share for ZS Pharma, a 42 percent premium on the California company’s stock price Thursday.

The deal puts ZS Pharma among the largest Texas-related biotech deals in recent history. Last year, London-based Smith & Nephew bought Austin, TX-based ArthroCare for $1.7 billion. In 2006, Genentech purchased Houston’s Tanox for $919 million.

The deal was unanimously approved by ZS Pharma’s board of directors and is expected to close by the end of the year. ZS Pharma, which has around 200 employees across three sites in California, Texas, and Colorado, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca. “This agreement will allow us to maximize the potential of ZS-9, drawing on AstraZeneca’s long-standing expertise in developing and commercializing medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,” Robert Alexander, ZS Pharma’s CEO, said in a statement.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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