AZ sells beta-blocker rights to Recordati for $300m

AstraZeneca has struck a deal with Recordati, granting the Italian pharma European rights to an old beta-blocker for $300 million.

Recordati will get marketing rights to Seloken/Seloken ZOK (metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol respectively) and fixed dose combination Logimax (metoprolol and felodipine).

Metoprolol succinate is a beta-blocker for the control of hypertension, angina and heart failure.

Recordati will pay AZ $300 million up front, with the UK pharma receiving tiered royalties, starting at a double-digit percentage of sales. These sales totalled $110 million in 2016.

AZ will manufacture and supply the drugs to Recordati under a supply agreement.

This is the latest in a string of deals where AZ has sold off rights to older or unwanted drugs to generate short-term revenue while it waits for a new generation of medicines to get approved.

In 2016, this so-called “externalisation revenue” was worth almost $1.7 billion to AZ – very handy at a time when sales of big-selling cholesterol drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) are dropping rapidly in the key US market because of generic competition.

Much of AZ’s hopes rest on its newly-approved cancer immunotherapy, Imfinzi (durvalumab).

This is newly approved by the FDA in bladder cancer, just as Roche shocked the market with bad phase 3 results from its rival PD-L1 inhibitor, Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in the same use.

But the real prize for AZ is to get Imfinzi approved in the lucrative first-line lung cancer indication.

After a positive readout in late-stage lung cancer earlier this month, AZ hopes that results from the MYSTIC trial, due next month, will show the drug can be used in lung cancer in combination with another immunotherapy, the anti-CTLA4 drug tremelimumab.

Mark Mallon, executive vice president, global product and portfolio strategy at AstraZeneca, said: “This agreement allows us to concentrate our resources on bringing multiple new medicines to patients. Recordati’s expertise in cardiovascular disease and established European salesforce will help to expand the commercial potential of the Seloken brands, which are mature medicines.”

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