Out with the old… AZ sells European rights to Atacand

AstraZeneca is selling off European commercial rights to its high blood pressure drug Atacand to German biotech Cheplapharm, securing $200 million for “company’s new wave of medicines”.

The deal, announced yesterday, will give Cheplapharm Arzneimittel-GmbH exclusive commercial rights to sell Atacand and Atacand Plus on 28 European markets.

Cheplapharm will pay $200 million on the completion of the deal, expected in the third quarter of the 2018, plus $10 million time-bound payment followed by sales-contingent milestones.

Mark Mallon, executive vice president, Global Product & Portfolio Strategy at AstraZeneca, said: “Cheplapharm’s strong European presence will help expand the commercial potential of Atacand.”

AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture, supply and sell the drug in all other markets it still holds the rights to. The company estimates that global sales in 2017 were over $300 million, including $86 in Europe alone.

Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) was developed in collaboration with Takeda has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US in 2000.

It is a prescription drug used for high blood pressure in adults and children and also as a heart failure prevention drug in older patient groups.

Its patent expired a few years ago and since then has been used and several other have made cheaper, generic versions.

“This agreement forms part of our strategy of streamlining our portfolio of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas and bringing new medicines to patients,” commented Mallon.

In line with this strategy AZ sold the rights to its cholesterol pills Crestor last year, soon after the Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic version the blockbuster in the US.

AZ said in a statement that “the agreement does not impact the company’s financial guidance for FY 2018”, however, it will have an impact on the “other operating income” in the Q2 results to be announced in the next few days.

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