The company has agreed to divest the prescription medicine rights to Nexium (esomeprazole) in Europe, as well as the global rights (excluding the US and Japan) to Vimovo (naproxen/esomeprazole) to Grünenthal.
The medicines are outside AstraZeneca’s three main therapy areas of Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. Nexium has lost compound patent protection in the majority of global markets and Vimovo is patent protected in most European markets until 2025.
“The divestment agreements allow us to realise value from our successful medicines while redeploying our resources on developing innovative medicines for patients across our three main therapy areas, which we expect to drive growth for AstraZeneca. Grünenthal is a science-based pharmaceutical company specialised in innovative pain management and related therapies. Its expertise and distribution networks will help expand the commercial potential of both Nexium and Vimovo, helping to reach many patients who could benefit,” said Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product & Portfolio Strategy.
The divestment is expected to complete in 2018. For Nexium, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $700 million upon completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $90 million. For Vimovo, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $115 million on completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $17 million. Upfront and milestone payments will be reported as Other Operating Income in the company’s financial statements.
AstraZeneca will continue to commercialise Nexium in all markets outside Europe, where the company retains the rights. On completion of the agreements, AstraZeneca will not retain any ownership rights to Vimovo globally, or to Nexium in Europe. Nexium sales in Europe in H1 2018 were $121million; Vimovo global sales excluding the US and Japan in the same period were $37million. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Nexium under a long-term supply agreement.