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AstraZeneca and Luye Pharma Group enter agreement

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AstraZeneca has entered into an agreement with Luye Pharma Group for the sale and licence of the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, China and other international markets, including Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Argentina, Malaysia and South Africa.

The transaction is part of AstraZeneca’s strategy to focus on its three main therapy areas of Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. Seroquel, used primarily to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disease, has lost its compound patent protection globally; the Seroquel XR formulation patents have now also expired in the vast majority of markets. AstraZeneca partnered the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in Japan and Venezuela under prior agreements.

Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca, said: “The agreement with Luye Pharma is in line with AstraZeneca’s strategy to focus on three main therapy areas while maximising the value from our legacy medicines like Seroquel. The agreement with Luye Pharma will also ensure continued widespread patient access to important established medicines.”

Dr. Yehong Zhang, head of Luye Pharma (International) said: “Central nervous system diseases continue to present a challenge to patients and healthcare systems across the world. This transaction represents another step in our effort to build a portfolio and platform to help address this issue. It is an affirmation of our commitment to accelerate our international presence. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with existing and future partners and making this a success for us and for patients in need.”

Financial considerations

Luye Pharma will pay $538m in consideration including $260m immediately following closure of the transaction. In addition, a milestone is payable on the successful transition of certain activities to Luye. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Luye Pharma during a transition period. The upfront and future payments will be reported as Other Operating Income in the Company’s financial statements.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2 2018, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.In FY 2017, Seroquel generated annual sales of$85min the markets covered by this agreement, while SeroquelXR generated $63m.The agreement does not change the Company’s financial guidance for FY 2018.