Sobi buys rights to AstraZeneca infant drug
Sobi buys rights to AstraZeneca infant drug for $1.5 billion upfront
LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca (AZN.L) has taken another step to refocus on priority drugs by selling U.S. rights to a treatment for infant lung infections to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (SOBIV.ST) for an upfront fee of $1.5 billion.
Around 130 AstraZeneca staff will transfer to Sobi as the Swedish company, widely known as Sobi, takes over marketing of the treatment Synagis in the United States.
The move is a significant commercial boost for rare diseases specialist Sobi, giving it a substantially increased U.S. footprint and expanding its business in immunology, and its shares jumped more than 6 percent.
Sobi also gets the right to participate in AstraZeneca’s share of U.S. profits and losses in a follow-on drug for respiratory syncytial virus, called MEDI8897, which AstraZeneca is developing with Sanofi (SASY.PA), the companies said.
AstraZeneca will receive $1 billion in cash and $500 million in Sobi shares, equal to a stake of 8 percent in the Swedish group.
The British drugmaker is also entitled to further contingent payments. It will get up to $470 million in sales-related payments for Synagis, a $175 million milestone when MEDI8897 is filed for U.S. approval, and other potential payments related to the new drug of up to $170 million.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton