AstraZeneca in $560 m deal for respiratory firm

British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC says it is to acquire Pearl Therapeutics Inc., a Redwood-City, California-based company involved in therapies for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for at least $560 million.

The deal—which could involve further payments of up to $590 million if sales and drug development targets are met—gives AstraZeneca access to new treatments for .

Savvas Neophytou, an analyst with Panmure Gordon & Co, said Monday the acquisition could give AstraZeneca access to "the holy grail" of respiratory medicine—triple agent therapy for respiratory disease.

Pearl's lead product is PT003 and is used in treating —a progressive disease associated mainly with tobacco smoking, air pollution or occupational exposure. It can cause debilitating bouts of breathlessness.

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