AZ sells ex-US rights to old cancer drugs Arimidex and Casodex

For several years AstraZeneca has been selling off rights to its older drugs to raise cash as it develops a new generation of drugs, and this pattern has continued as it sold its Arimidex and Casodex in some European, African and other countries to Juvise’ Pharmaceuticals.

AZ said Arimidex (anastrozole) and Casodex (bicalutamide) are primarily used to treat breast and prostate cancers, respectively, and have lost their patent protection in these countries.

The UK pharma has already sold rights to both Arimidex and Casodex in the US in 2017.

There were no closing conditions to the divestment and the agreement became effective on signing.

Juvisé Pharmaceuticals has made an upfront payment of $181m to AstraZeneca and may also make future sales-dependent payments of up to $17m.

AZ will book the payment from the deal in AstraZeneca’s financial statements in the fourth quarter of 2018 and any future payments will be reported within other operating income and expense.

In 2018, Arimidex had sales of $37m in the countries covered by the agreement, while Casodex had sales of $24m.

Arimidex is an aromatase inhibitor, indicated primarily for the adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer.

It is also used as first-line treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive or hormone receptor-unknown locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer and the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression, following tamoxifen therapy.

Casodex is an androgen-receptor inhibitor, indicated for use in combination therapy with a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogue for the treatment of Stage D2 metastatic carcinoma of the prostate.

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president of AZ’s Oncology Business Unit, said: “Arimidex and Casodex are important established medicines and we are pleased that Juvisé Pharmaceuticals will now take on the work of making sure patients continue to have access to them. Today’s agreement is part of a broader strategy of reducing our portfolio of mature medicines to reallocate resources towards developing our pipeline of new medicines.”

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