Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca said on Monday that it had agreed to buy US firm Pearl Therapeutics for up to $1.15 billion (871 million euros). \"AstraZeneca announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pearl Therapeutics, a privately held company based in Redwood City, California, focused on the development of inhaled small-molecule therapeutics for respiratory disease,\" it said in a statement. \"The acquisition will give AstraZeneca access to a potential new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), currently in late-stage development, and inhaler and formulation technology that provides a platform for future combination products.\" London-listed AstraZeneca will pay $560 million initially upon completion. However, the price can rise up to $1.15 billion, depending on sales, as well as on passing development and regulatory milestones. \"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease continues to increase worldwide and there is a growing need for the next generation of inhaled combination products,\" said AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot in the statement. \"Pearl\'s novel formulation technology, together with its development products and specialist expertise are a great complement to AstraZeneca\'s long-established capabilities in respiratory disease, one of our core therapy areas. The acquisition is expected to complete in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.