AstraZeneca Divests Rights to Two Cardiovascular Drugs for $400 Million

AstraZeneca is divesting two cardiovascular drugs to Germany’s Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH for $400 million, which will allow the UK pharma giant to reinvest in its main therapy areas.

This morning, AstraZeneca said it agreed to sell the commercial rights to Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) and Atacand Plus (a fixed-dose combination of candesartan cilexetil and hydrochlorothiazide) to Cheplapharm. The drugs, approved for treatment of heart failure and hypertension, respectively, are commercially available in approximately 70 countries across the globe. For Cheplapharm, the deal piggybacks onto a 2018 agreement to acquire the European rights to Atacand. The agreement announced today will allow that company to expand the reach of the cardiovascular drug into additional countries across the globe.

Candesartan cilexetil | C33H34N6O6 - PubChem
Atacand (candesartan cilexetil)

Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) is a selective, AT1 subtype angiotensin II receptor antagonist is indicated for the management of hypertension in adults and children/adolescents, as well as HF in adults. Atacand Plus is indicated for the management of hypertension when candesartan or hydrochlorothiazide monotherapy is not sufficiently effective.

Under terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Atacand and Atacand plus and will continue to commercialize the medicine during a three-year transition period. Of the $400 million payment for the two drugs, Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH will pay AstraZeneca $250 million when the deal is completed in the fourth quarter of this year, and the remaining $150 million will be paid in the first half of 2021.

Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, said the decision to sell the rights to the drugs is part of the company’s strategy to “manage” its mature medications in order to use proceeds from the sale for reinvestment in the company’s core therapies. The divestment of the drugs will not impact AstraZeneca’s financial guidance for 2020, the company noted.

Last year, Atacand and Atacand Plus generated sales of $148 million and profit before tax of $89 million in those 70 countries, AstraZeneca said.

Last year, the two companies struck a separate deal for an acid reflux treatment. Cheplapharm acquired the commercial rights to Losec (omeprazole) and associated brands containing omeprazole marketed by AstraZeneca or its collaborators under the Acimax, Antra, Mepral, Mopral, Omepral and Zoltum brand names. Losec is a proton pump inhibitor discovered and developed by AstraZeneca, which helps to reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach in patients with gastrointestinal reflux conditions and ulcers. At the time of the Losec deal, Dobber said the decision to divest that asset also centered on the management of mature drug assets.

Oct 30, 2020

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