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LEO Pharma picks up AZ skin disease drugs in $1bn deal

Gains rights to eczema and psoriasis treatments
LEO Pharma

LEO Pharma has licensed two potential drugs for inflammatory skin disease from AstraZeneca in a deal that could be worth up to $1bn in royalties for AZ.

Dermatology specialist LEO Pharma will make an upfront payment of $115m for tralokinumab, an anti-IL-13 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema).

The drug has completed a phase IIb clinical trial and is currently in phase III development for patients with severe asthma - for which AZ has retained rights.

AZ has also agreed to transfer European rights to brodalumab, its psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis candidate, from Valeant to LEO Pharma.

Valeant previously held an exclusive licence to develop and commercialise brodalumab globally with the exception of Japan and other Asian countries where Kyowa Kakko Kirin holds the rights.

Now, LEO Pharma will focus on bringing the IL-17 receptor monoclonal antibody to market in Europe while Valeant retains US rights.

LEO Pharma's president and chief executive Gitte Aabo said: “LEO Pharma has secured a unique position to help people with skin diseases as a result of our strategic partnership with AstraZeneca, a global healthcare company at the forefront of science-led innovation.

“By expanding our portfolio to include both biologics and topicals, LEO Pharma is set to become the world dermatology leader.”

Should the two drugs meet with regulatory approval, tralokinumab will potentially face Anacor's eczema drug crisaborole, which has recently been bought by Pfizer, and is currently under review by the FDA.

Meanwhile, brodalumab would contend with Novartis' psoriasis blockbuster Cosentyx, which was approved as a first-line treatment in Europe, the US and Japan early last year.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

4th July 2016

From: Sales

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