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AstraZeneca sells rights to seven anaesthetics in $770m deal

Ten-year agreement with Aspen continues the streamlining of its operations
AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca has divested seven drugs from its anaesthetics portfolio through a $770m deal with Aspen Global Incorporated (AGI).

The UK firm continues its spree of selling off unwanted assets, with this latest agreement conferring global commercialisation rights to AGI for the next ten years, spanning key markets such as Australia, Brazil, China and Japan.

The deal excludes the drugs' US rights, with those having previously been sold to Abraxis in 2006.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive at AZ, said that the agreement will “extend the reach of our established portfolio to a greater number of patients through AGI's extensive commercial network”.

The deal is due to be completed in the third quarter of this year and will see Aspen pay AZ $520m upfront as well as a further $250m in sales-related payments and royalties.

AZ will manufacture the medicines and supply them to Aspen for the next decade, after which the South Africa firm will assume complete responsibility for the portfolio, which includes general and topical anaesthetics Diprivan (propofol) and EMLA (lidocain and prilocaine), plus five local anaesthetics.

Stephen Saad, chief executive of the Aspen Group, said the deal is a “strategically-important investment for AGI” as well as “an excellent opportunity to build on the quality brands commercialised through AGI, working alongside an acknowledge pioneer and leader in the field of anaesthetics”.

Soriot added that the sale will also support AZ's “strategic focus on the new medicines in three main therapy areas” – a strategy that has given rise to a number of deals in recent times.

AZ transferred EU and Latin America rights for its recently approved gout drug Zurampic to Gruenenthal in a deal valued at £230m, and sold its late-stage psoriasis candidate brodalumab to Valeant.

ProStraken obtained the European rights to AZ's opioid-induced constipation treatment Moventig (naloxegol), and the firm sold Entocort (budesonide), its inflammatory bowel disease therapy, to Tillotts Pharma.

Concurrently, AZ is investing in its oncology, inflammation and autoimmunity, and cardiovascular/metabolic pipelines, as the company looks to boost sales following the loss of several patent protections for blockbuster drugs and meet revenue targets of $45bn by 2023.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

9th June 2016

From: Sales

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