After a brief break, AstraZeneca is back at divesting — handing off hypertension meds for $350M
On the same day that it’s getting back an experimental IL-23 drug from AbbVie and Allergan’s pre-merger divestiture exercise, AstraZeneca has engineered a sale of its own.
The pharma giant is collecting $350 million from Atnahs Pharma for global commercial rights to a suite of five off-patent hypertension drugs: Inderal (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Tenoretic (atenolol, chlorthalidone fixed-dose combination), Zestril (lisinopril) and Zestoretic (lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide fixed-dose combination).
Together, they generated sales of $132 million in 2018 in the markets covered by the deal, which excluded the US, India and Japan, according to AstraZeneca. The US and India rights were already divested, while the drugmaker is retaining rights to market in Japan.
Atnahs, a specialist in “mature branded meds” with offices in the UK, Denmark, UAE, Australia and India, is also promising sales-contingent payments up to $40 million in the next two years.
“This transaction supports our strategy to realise value from our portfolio of non-core mature brands, enabling further investment in new medicines,” Ruud Dobber, EVP of the BioPharmaceuticals business unit, said in a statement.
During a transition period, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply the drugs to Atnahs. Inderal, Tenormin and Tenoretic are beta-blockers, while Zestril and Zestoretic both contain the same angiotensin-converting enzyme (ICE) inhibitor.
In late 2018 AstraZeneca inked a flurry of deals to prune its portfolio and focus on the new flagship products, notably cancer drugs such as Lynparza, Imfinzi, Tagrisso and Calquence. A few months later in 2019, CEO Pascal Soriot executed a complete revamp of the company structure, dissolving the MedImmune subsidiary, enshrining the oncology franchise and refashioning everything else along that line.
Previous divestitures have seen AstraZeneca let go of Nexium and Losec for stomach problems, anti-inflammatory drug Vimovo, RSV drug Synagis, as well as the respiratory therapies Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna.