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AstraZeneca Sells Hypertension Drugs in $350 Million Deal

By Eric Volkman - Mar 2, 2020 at 3:05PM

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The company is divesting most of its global commercial rights to a suite of five medications.

AstraZeneca (AZN -0.18%) has closed a deal to divest itself of a set of hypertension drugs. The buyer will be fellow U.K.-headquartered pharmaceutical company Atnahs. AstraZeneca received a $350 million upfront payment for the five medications, and is eligible for up to $40 million more between now and 2022 if certain sales milestones are met; it did not specify those milestones.

The deal, originally agreed to at the end of January, transfers most of the global commercial rights to the drugs Inderal, Tenormin, Tenoretic, Zestril, and Zestoretic. The arrangement does not cover China, India, Japan, or the U.S. The India and U.S. rights were previously sold, while the company will maintain its rights to the Japanese market.

Pills spilling out on U.S. currency.

Image source: Getty Images

When first announcing the Atnahs transaction, AstraZeneca said it "supports our strategy to realize value from our portfolio of non-core mature brands, enabling further investment in new medicines."

One key element of the pharmaceutical company's current strategy is to bolster its strength in oncology medicines. Lately it has had much success with its PARP inhibitor Lynparza, which is approved to treat breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, and which brought in nearly $1.2 billion in revenue in 2019. Lynparza recently received priority review status from the Food and Drug Administration for prostate cancer.

AstraZeneca said that the $350 million upfront payment will be included in the "other operating income and expense" line item in its  first-quarter 2020 profit-and-loss statement. It is currently scheduled to release this quarter's results on April 29.

AstraZeneca's shares were up nearly 3% in mid-afternoon trading on Monday. 

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