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AstraZeneca divests global rights to Movantik to RedHill Biopharma

Ruud Dobber

AstraZeneca has agreed to sublicense its global rights to Movantik (naloxegol), excluding Europe, Canada and Israel, to RedHill Biopharma (RedHill).

Movantik is a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (PAMORA) indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC).

“This divestment supports our strategy to realise value from medicines in our portfolio that are mature or outside our current scope to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas. Movantik is an important established medicine and the divestment to RedHill will ensure its continued availability for patients,” says Ruud Dobber, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, AstraZeneca.

As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Movantik to RedHill during a transition period. In 2015, AstraZeneca entered into a co-commercialisation agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. for Movantik in the US, which will be transferred to RedHill.

Financial considerations

RedHill will make an upfront payment of $52.5m to AstraZeneca on closing and a further non-contingent payment of $15m in 2021. Income arising from the upfront payment, offset by a charge for derecognition of the associated intangible asset, and the future payment will be reported in AstraZeneca’s financial statements within Other Operating Income & Expense.

In 2019, Movantik generated sales of $96m in the US. The divestment is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances. Upon completion, the agreement will not impact the company’s financial guidance for 2020.