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Astellas sells dermatology unit to Leo for €675m

Continuesthe company's restructuring drive

AstellasJapan's Astellas has continued the restructuring of its business started in 2013 with the sale of its dermatology operations to Danish firm Leo Pharma. 

Skincare specialist Leo is paying €675m for the product portfolio, which is headed by severe eczema treatment Protopic (tacrolimus), Locoid and Locobase  skin creams and acne therapy Zineryt (erythromycin/zinc acetate). Excluded from the deal are Protopic rights in Japan.

Protopic is one of Astellas mid-tier products with sales of ¥21.7bn ($176m) last year, down from ¥25bn in the prior year following patent expiry in the US.

The deal - which is expected to close early next year and does not include any manufacturing facilities - will "allow us to reallocate resources to activities that drive our competitive advantage", said Astellas in a statement. 

There have been rumours of a sale of the unit since the 2013 restructuring was first announced, and Astellas confirmed in a strategy update earlier this year that dermatology was not part of its forward-looking plans. 

The company said it intends to focus on urology, oncology, immunology, kidney and central nervous system diseases, muscle disorders and eyecare over the next few years, with a significant increase in R&D spend. 

To that end, Astellas has just agreed to buy Ocata in a deal that expands its recently-formed regenerative medicines unit, along with other initiatives such as a strategic alliance with Amgen and a research collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo. 

The overarching aim is to prepare for the forthcoming patent expiries on big-selling drugs Vesicare (solifenacin succinate) for overactive bladder and cancer therapy Tarceva (erlotinib).

For Leo, adding the dermatology portfolio is "a pivotal step" in its ongoing effort to become "the preferred dermatology care partner in the world" and fulfils a commitment made to investors to expand the business by seeking external opportunities.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th November 2015

From: Sales

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