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AstraZeneca to buy biotech firm TeneoTwo for up to $1.27 billion

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FILE PHOTO: Exterior photos of the North America headquarters of AstraZeneca
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(Reuters) -AstraZeneca agreed to acquire biotechnology firm TeneoTwo Inc in a deal worth up to $1.27 billion on Tuesday, in a move to bolster its roster of therapies to treat blood cancers.

At the heart of the deal is the U.S.-based company's early stage experimental treatment for a form of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer that involves the growth of abnormal white blood cells that can lead to the emergence of tumours.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker - whose key blood cancer drug Calquence generated sales of more than $1.2 billion last year - plans to acquire all outstanding equity of TeneoTwo for an upfront payment of $100 million, with additional milestone-related payments of up to $1.17 billion.

TeneoTwo's experimental drug, TNB-486, belongs to a class of bispecific antibodies that are engineered to redirect the immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells.

It is currently in a phase 1 trial in patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, who have received 2 or more previous lines of therapy.

The transaction is likely to close in the third quarter of this year and is not expected to impact AstraZeneca's 2022 outlook, the London-listed company said.

TeneoTwo Inc was spun off from Teneobio, which was bought by U.S. biotechnology company Amgen last year.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru and Natalie Grover in London; editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jason Neely)