AstraZeneca has agreed to sell the commercial rights to Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate immediate release) and Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate extended release) in the US and Canada to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH (Cheplapharm). Seroquel and Seroquel XR, used primarily to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have lost their compound patent protection in the US and Canada.
Ruud Dobber, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, said: “This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas. 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.”
AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Cheplapharm during a transition period.
Cheplapharm will make an upfront payment of $35m to AstraZeneca and may also make future sales-contingent payments of up to $6m. Income arising from the upfront and future payments will be reported in AstraZeneca’s financial statements within Other Operating Income & Expense. In 2018, Seroquel generated sales of $36m in the markets covered by this agreement, while Seroquel XR generated $79m. The agreement does not impact the Company’s financial guidance for 2019. As there were no closing conditions to the divestment, the agreement became effective upon signing.
Pursuant to Listing Rule 10.4.1R (notification of class 2 transactions), the gross book value of assets subject to the divestment as at 31 December 2018 was nil. In the year to 31 December 2018, the aggregate profit before tax attributable to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the relevant territories were $108m. The consideration will be paid in cash and the proceeds used for general corporate purposes.
Seroquel and Seroquel XR are atypical anti-psychotic medicines with antidepressant properties. The main indications for Seroquel are the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seroquel XR is also approved in some markets for major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
AstraZeneca previously divested the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, Japan and other major international markets. AstraZeneca also agreed to divest the rights to the medicines in Europe (excluding the UK) and Russia to Cheplapharm earlier in 2019, a transaction that is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.
AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.