AstraZeneca sells off third drug in five days

pharmafile | October 7, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications AstraZeneca, Cilag GmbH, Johnson & Johnson, Rhinocort Aqua 

AstraZeneca have completed a third sell off in the course of one week by divesting rights to Rhinocort Aqua outside the US. The deal, which will be completed for $330 million, sees Johnson & Johnson affiliate Cilag GmbH International gain the rights to sell the nasal spray outside of the US.

Rhinocort Aqua is designed to treat allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the inside of the nose. It is also used for the treatment of nasal polyps, which is a swelling of the nasal lining. The active ingredient is budesonide, an anti-inflammatory.

Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product & Portfolio Strategy at AstraZeneca, commented upon the sale by saying: “This agreement allows us to concentrate our efforts in Respiratory as one of our three strategic therapy areas, on transforming the treatment of asthma and COPD, where budesonide remains a key component of our marketed as well as pipeline medicines.”

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year. AstraZeneca will not retain any stake in Rhinocort Aqua and no employees or facilities will be transferred with the sale.

This news comes on the back of the news of Insmed Inc buying the rights to AstraZeneca’s experiment early-stage respiratory drug, AZD7986, in a deal worth $150 million. Prior to this, there was news of Allergan paying $1.3 billion in acquiring the rights to AstraZeneca’s MEDI2070, an experimental medicine for inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases.

The aim could be to offset the news of the failure of Brilinta in clinical trials. The drug had been forecast to achieve $2.1 billion in sales by 2021 but was hit by the news that the drug had little benefit over older blood thinner, clopidogrel, in treating peripheral artery disease.

Ben Hargreaves

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