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AstraZeneca divests Seroquel rights to focus on key therapy areas

Second divestment to Germany-based Cheplapharm this year

AstraZeneca logo building

AstraZeneca has sold the commercial rights to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drugs Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Cheplapharm. 

The agreement covers the rights to the two drugs in the US and Canada, where they have lost their compound patent protection. AZ will continue to manufacture and supply Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Cheplapharm during a transition period.

The terms of the deal include an upfront payment of $35m, with future sales-contingent payments of up to $6m. In 2018, Seroquel reported sales of $36m in the markets included in this agreement, while Seroquel XR generated $79m.

Due to the absence of closing conditions to the divestment, the agreement became effective upon signing, AZ said in a statement.

“This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas,” said Ruud Dobber, executive vice president, BioPharmaceutical Business Unit at AZ.

“Cheplapharm recently agreed to acquire the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in most European markets and Russia from AstraZeneca and this new agreement will help ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in North America as well,” he added.

AZ identified its main therapy focus areas as oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory therapy areas.

The British drugmaker also recently sold the global commercial rights for Losec (omeprazole) and its associated brands to Cheplapharm for up to $276m.

The sale of this drug, which is commonly used for the treatment of acid reflux, and the most recent divestments will help AZ to re-direct its focus on its main therapy areas.

AZ recently raise its full-year sales prediction for the second consecutive quarter, which was driven by strong growth of its oncology medicines such as Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza –with a reported 48% growth in this area to $2.3bn.

Its cardiovascular, renal and metabolism (CVRM) franchise has also been on the up, with a third quarter growth fo 11% to $1.1bn, thanks to growth in sales of Brilinta and Farxiga.

The pharma company has also reported strong growth in emerging markets, especially China, where it saw a sales growth of 40% to $1.2bn in the third quarter of 2019, and also reported a return to growth in its Europe sales, which were up 1% to $1.1bn.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

3rd December 2019

From: Sales

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