AstraZeneca completes takeover of Almirall respiratory franchise

AstraZeneca (AZ) has taken over the rights to Almirall’s respiratory franchise, for an initial payment of $875 million, and up to a further $1.22 billion in development, launch and sales-related milestones. The deal was originally announced at the end of July.

AZ gains the rights to develop and commercialise the respiratory business, including rights to revenues from Almirall’s existing partnerships and its pipeline of investigational novel therapies. These will strengthen AZ’s existing respiratory portfolio, which includes Symbicort and Pulmicort and other drugs in development.

Symbicort earned $3.4 billion in 2013 but faces generic competition in Europe and the US and AZ needs to refresh its pipeline to satisfy shareholders.

AZ also bought Bristol-Myers Squibb out of the companies’ diabetes alliance in February and is pursuing oncology combinations in a deal with Japan’s Kyowa Hakko Kirin made in July, as it pushes to increase its critical mass.

AZ repelled a takeover attempt by Pfizer earlier this year and it is unclear whether the US giant will make another bid, which would be allowed later this month under UK takeover rules.

The Almirall deal means AZ gets: Eklira (aclidinium); Duaklir Genuair, the combination of aclidinium with formoterol (LAMA/LABA) that has received a positive opinion from the CHMP in the EU and is being developed in the US; LAS100977 (abediterol), a once-daily long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) in phase II; an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist (MABA) platform in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and phase I (LAS190792) and multiple pre-clinical programmes. AZ also gains Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary developing innovative proprietary devices.

Pascal Soriot, AZ CEO, said: “I am delighted to welcome our Almirall colleagues to AstraZeneca. Respiratory disease is one of our company’s key therapeutic areas, and the combination of these exciting portfolios reinforces our long-term commitment to patients with asthma and COPD. Our expanded product and device offering will enable us to bring better treatment options to patients.”

President of Almirall, Jorge Gallardo, pointed out that the deal would help finance the expansion of the company’s dermatology business, an area in which Almirall seeks to become a top global player.


AstraZeneca to pay up to $2 billion for Almirall respiratory franchise

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