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AZ 'considering' divesting GI unit

Anglo-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca is considering divesting up to five
gastrointestinal  research projects to venture capitalist investors, according to reports in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Industris.

Anglo-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca (AZ) is considering divesting up to five
gastrointestinal (GI) research projects to venture capitalist investors, according to reports in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Industris.

AZ's GI research unit is currently based near Gothenberg, Sweden.

According to reports in the Swedish press, AZ is discussing spinning off up to five individual research projects with venture capital firms and other drug companies. The sale could be worth more than SKr1bn (£79m).

AZ is also reportedly considering offshooting its GI research unit into a separate company and seeking a separate stock exchange listing.

AZ will not comment on the speculation, and says it is continually looking to ways to maximise the value of our R&D assets for patients and shareholders and explore a range of options on an ongoing basis.

Seroquel submission

AZ has announced it is submitting applications in the EU under the Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) for once-daily Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets, seeking approval for the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder and the treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder.

This follows two supplemental New Drug Applications (sNDAs) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced in January, for the same indications.

AZ has also submitted a further application in the EU for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate immediate release, IR) for the treatment of bipolar depression, an indication approved by the FDA in October 2006.

the European submission includes new data from the EMBOLDEN study programme, in addition to data from the BOLDER study programme. Over 1,500 patients were randomised into the EMBOLDEN studies, which included a 52-week treatment continuation phase following an initial treatment period of 8 weeks.

12th February 2008

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