AstraZeneca said Tuesday morning it agreed to pay as much as $443 million for Princeton-based Omthera Pharmaceuticals, which is close to being able to sell new treatment called Epanova for dyslipidemia, which is a lipid disorder with a heightened level of serum triglycerides that can contribute to heart disease.

AstraZeneca is based in the United Kingdom, but has about 2,000 employees at facilities in Wilmington and Newark, Del.

The drugmaker is searching for new medicine that will help compensate for revenue declines in other drugs that lost patent protection and exclusivity and now face generic compensation.

AstraZeneca will pay $323 million up front, and then perhaps as much as $120 million to shareholders based on sales reaching certain milestones. AstraZeneca's statement with more of the stock sale details is here.

"The number of people with elevated triglyceride levels is rising rapidly across the world, due in part to the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes," Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca chief executive officer. "There is a clear need for effective and convenient alternatives to some of the existing treatments. Epanova offers real potential both as a distinctive monotherapy for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia and in combination with Crestor for patients at high risk of adverse cardiovascular events. This is an exciting acquisition that clearly complements our existing portfolio in cardiovascular and metabolic disease, one of our core therapy areas."