AstraZeneca buys French drug developer Novexel

British drug maker AstraZeneca announced Wednesday that it would acquire French drug developer Novexel in a deal worth $505 million.

Under the deal, AstraZeneca will pay $350 million anti-infection group Novexel's shares and another $80 million for its cash.

The British drug maker will pay further $75 million if specific targets in the development of its drug programs are reached.

Commenting on the deal, AstraZeneca said, "Building AstraZeneca's anti-infective portfolio has become a strategic priority as antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a growing threat to human health."

Demand for new anti-infection drugs is being boosted by ever-increasing bacterial resistance to current antibiotics.

Shares in AstraZeneca were trading at 2,890.5 pence, up 1.5 pence.