Shares in Circassia jumped as much as 30 percent on Friday on news of the deal, which is its first since the failure of its cat allergy treatment in June.
Circassia’s Chief Executive Steve Harris said Tudorza, a bronchodilator which generated sales of $170 million in 2016, and Duaklir, a combination drug which is in late stage development in the United States, could transform the company into a world-class respiratory business.
“We have got 100 reps in the U.S. selling to respiratory experts, and essentially this is what AstraZeneca wanted to access,” he said.
“It is initially a collaboration whereby we will sell the product on behalf of AstraZeneca and share the profit 50:50, then we will acquire the product in around two years’ time.”
Harris said the company planned to double the size of its salesforce to promote Tudorza and its existing products that assist asthma management.
COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, mainly affects older people, particularly smokers.
Circassia said the market was large and growing, and current estimates suggest the global market would be worth more then $13 billion by 2022.
Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said it was “bold strategic move” for Circassia, which Harris said “will get the follow-up product that is currently in Phase 3 and is expected to be approved in around two years time”.
“Having suffered a significant setback with its lead immunotherapy program last year we see this as a positive step for Circassia as it seeks to exploit the commercial infrastructure it has in place in the U.S. respiratory market,” Cantor Fitzgerald’s analysts said.