As part of strategic refocusing, AstraZeneca sold the rights to two cancer drugs in several countries in Europe, Africa and other countries to Juvisé Pharmaceuticals.

The drugs, Arimidex (anastrozole) and Casodex (bicalutamide), are primarily used to treat breast and prostate cancers. The drugs lost their patent protection in those countries. The company already sold off the rights to both drugs in the U.S. in 2017.

Juvisé Pharmaceuticals paid $181 million upfront with future sales-contingent payments up to $17 million. Last year, Arimidex brought in $37 million in the countries covered in the agreement, with Casodex bringing in $24 million.

“Arimidex and Casodex are important established medicines and we are pleased that Juvisé Pharmaceuticals will now take on the work of making sure patients continue to have access to them,” said Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s Oncology Business Unit. “Today’s agreement is part of a broader strategy of reducing our portfolio of mature medicines to reallocate resources towards developing our pipeline of new medicines.”

Juvisé is a French specialty pharmaceutical company. With this deal, it enters the oncology market. It specializes in manufacturing and commercializing drugs in the cardiovascular, oncology or neuro-psychiatric disease spaces. It is only 11 years old, but now markets its own drugs in 75 countries.

“We are very pleased to have successfully closed our first deal with AstraZeneca and to enter a therapeutic area with high medical needs such as oncology with Arimidex and Casodex, which are two widely recognized cancer treatments essential for both patients and physicians,” said Frédérick Mascha, founder and president of Juvisé.

On December 16, AstraZeneca completed a deal to divest its commercial rights to Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate immediate release) and Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate extended-release) in Europe and Russia. The company sold the rights to Germany’s Cheplepharm Arzneimittel GmbH.

Under that deal, Cheplapharm paid $178 million upfront. AstraZeneca may also receive future sales-contingent payments up to $61 million.

Both drugs are atypical anti-psychotics with antidepressant properties. The main indications for Seroquel are schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Seroquel XR is also approved in some markets for major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorders.

AstraZeneca had already divested the rights to the two drugs in the UK, Japan and other major international markets. It also agreed to divest the rights to those drugs to Cheplapharm in the U.S. and Canada earlier this month.

For the U.S. and Canadian rights, Cheplapharm made an upfront payment of $35 million with potential sales-contingent payments of up to $6 million.

“This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas,” said Ruud Dobber, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, in a December 3 statement. “Cheplapharm recently agreed to acquire the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in most European markets and Russia from AstraZeneca and this new agreement will help ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in North America as well.”

Seroquel brought in $36 million in the U.S. and Canada markets in 2018 and Seroquel XR generated $79 million.



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