NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) agreed to buy the rights to a portfolio of inhaled drugs from Almirall (LBTSF) in a deal worth up to $2.1 billion, a significant step toward expanding its respiratory business and the type of pipeline-boosting deal favored by CEO Pascal Soriot, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The deal will give the U.K. drug maker a type of treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which it currently lacks, a new type of inhaler and a portfolio of pipeline drugs, potentially helping it compete better with rivals such as respiratory-market leader GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Journal said.
AstraZeneca's asthma treatment Symbicort has been gaining market share in the U.S. from Glaxo's Advair.
The Almirall deal will also help AstraZeneca's revenue, now forecast to decline between this year and 2017.
Shares of AstraZenecaa are up 0.92% to $73.78 in pre-market trade.
TheStreet Ratings team rates ASTRAZENECA PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate ASTRAZENECA PLC (AZN) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."