AstraZeneca Sells Drug Rights to Grünenthal
AstraZeneca is selling certain rights to Nexium and Vimovo to German drugmaker Grünenthal, having decided the drugs falls outside its main therapy areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal & metabolism and respiratory.
“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, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president, global product & portfolio strategy.
Under the terms of the deal, Grünenthal will receive European rights to Nexium and global rights (excluding the US and Japan) to Vimovo. AstraZeneca said it will continue to commercialize Nexium in all markets outside Europe where it holds the rights. It will also continue to manufacture and supply Nexium under a long-term agreement.
In the first half of 2018, Nexium’s sales in Europe were $121 million while global sales (excluding the US and Japan) for Vimovo were $37 million.
Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor designed to reduce the amount of acid produced in patients’ stomachs. It has several indications, including the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers induced by pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Vimovo is a modified-release fixed-dose combination tablet of naproxen, a pain-relieving NSAID and esomeprazole, the active ingredient in Nexium, used for treating various inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers and/or duodenal ulcers.
Nexium has lost compound patent protection in most markets around the world while Vimovo is patent protected in most European markets until 2025.
Grünenthal will pay $700 million upfront for Nexium and $115 million for Vimovo.
In addition, AstraZeneca could potentially receive future milestone and sales-related payments of up to $90 million on Nexium and up to $17 million on Vimovo.
The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.