AstraZeneca sells drug rights for $815 million

Oct 30, 2018

AstraZeneca has agreed to divest the prescription medicine rights to Nexium (esomeprazole) in Europe, as well as the global rights (excluding the US and Japan) to Vimovo (naproxen/esomeprazole) to Grünenthal. The medicines are outside AstraZeneca’s three main therapy areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory. Nexium has lost compound patent protection in the majority of global markets. Vimovo is patent protected in most European markets until 2025.

"The divestment agreements allow us to realize value from our successful medicines while redeploying our resources on developing innovative medicines for patients across our three main therapy areas, which we expect to drive growth for AstraZeneca," said Mark Mallon, executive vice president, global poduct & portfolio strategy. "Grünenthal is a science-based pharmaceutical company specialized in innovative pain management and related therapies. Its expertise and distribution networks will help expand the commercial potential of both Nexium and Vimovo, helping to reach many patients who could benefit."

The divestment is expected to complete in 2018. For Nexium, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $700 million upon completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $90 million. For Vimovo, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $115 million on completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $17 million.

AstraZeneca will continue to commercialise Nexium in all markets outside Europe, where the company retains the rights. On completion of the agreements, AstraZeneca will not retain any ownership rights to Vimovo globally, or to Nexium in Europe.

Read the AstraZeneca release

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