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AZ signs skin cholesterol test marketing deal with PreMD

AstraZeneca has signed a deal to market Canadian predictive medicine company PreMD's non-invasive Prevu skin cholesterol test in the US

AstraZeneca (AZ) has signed a deal to market Canadian predictive medicine company PreMD's non-invasive Prevu skin cholesterol test in the US.

The deal allows AZ to exclusively market and distribute Prevu, which the first test to use skin cholesterol to evaluate risk of advanced atherosclerosis, in the US. The agreement also gives the UK's second largest pharmaceutical company a three-month exclusive right to negotiate a global contract with PreMD.

PreMD could receive an upfront payment of USD 500,000 and is also eligible for additional milestone payments of up to USD 6m contingent on various development and revenue targets.

PreMD will also receive a 20 per cent royalty rate on AZ's net sales of the product for the first USD 30m, after which the rate will increase to 25 per cent. AZ will also fund any additional clinical trials, which PreMD would help to execute.

The product is currently being investigated by the FDA in a pivotal trial for broad clearance for patients with early heart disease.

According to PreMD, the results from the FDA should be known by Q3 2007, but added that it should not hold up the agreement with AZ.

PreMD retains exclusive rights to promote Prevu products to the life-insurance industry and other future applications of the technology under the brand.

Adele Gulfo, vice-president of healthcare innovation and corporate strategy at AZ said: "This collaboration will support the use of innovative, cost-effective technology to improve cardiovascular health by helping to identify patients at increased risk of having cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke. Identifying patients before they have an event is one of the most important challenges in American healthcare today."

AZ added that it hoped to begin marketing and distributing the product line to healthcare professionals in the US in 2008.

18th July 2007

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