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AstraZeneca sells Losec rights as part of refocus strategy

Funds will be diverted to bolster main therapy areas


AstraZeneca has maintained its focus on the oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory therapy areas, selling the rights to its mature gastro drug Losec to bolster its efforts.

The British drugmaker has announced it will sell the global commercial rights for Losec (omeprazole) and its associated brands to German pharma Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH for up to $276m. This excludes the rights in China, Japan, the US and Mexico, AZ has said.

The drug, commonly used for the treatment of acid reflux, will help AZ to re-direct its focus on its main areas of interest. Cheplapharm will pay AZ around $243m for Losec, with milestone payments of up to $33m in 2021 and 2022 dependent on sales.

AZ has maintained that it will continue to manufacture and supply Losec and its associated medicines, commercialising the medicine in the markets that it still hold the rights.

“This agreement forms part of our strategy of reducing the portfolio of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas, accelerating the number of innovative new medicines for patients with high unmet medical need,” said Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of BioPharmaceuticals at AZ.

“We already have an excellent relationship with Cheplapharm, and their strong European presence and global distribution network will help ensure continued patient access to Losec,” he added.

The funds from this sale will aid in the bolstering AZ efforts in other areas – including oncology.

AZ has being showing off its oncology power at ESMO, revealing positive date for its PARP inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib) in ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. The Merck & Co partnered drug has been driving sales for AZ, as well as its third generation EGFR inhibitor Tagrisso, which has become the company’s top-selling drug.

Also driving the sales for AZ is oncology drug Imfinizi, which has been performing well in NSCLC.

FDA blow in respiratory

However, AZ also took a recent blow in another area of interest earlier this week – its efforts in respiratory have been hurt by an FDA rejection of its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) therapy PT010 (budesonide/glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate).

The application submitted for the inhaled triple-combination therapy included data from the phase 3 KRONOS trial. However, the most recent results from the second positive phase 3 ETHOS trial were not included as they were not completed in time.

AZ has said that it will now work with the FDA regarding the next steps, which will include submitting the most recent data. The therapy received approval in Japan in June, and is also under regulatory review in China and in the EU.

However, it may prove difficult to gain positive approval from these regulatory bodies in light of the complete response letter rejection from the FDA.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

2nd October 2019

From: Sales



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