AstraZeneca plc's acquisition of Pearl Therapeutics Inc. gives the pharma an entry point into the LAMA/LABA race and a platform to build out other combination products. While the Pearl programs may be a couple of years behind competitors, AZ is betting that better stability and dosing consistency could result in products that are best in class.

On July 1, AstraZeneca completed its acquisition of Pearl for $560 million up front. The biotech's investors will be eligible for up to $450 million in development and regulatory milestones, plus up to $140 million in sales milestones. Investors had put in $167.5 million.