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AZ bags Almirall lung drugs31.07.2014 Astrazeneca is buying the rights to Almirall’s respiratory drugs in a deal worth up to €1.56bn.The Latest Catch is brought to you by European Biotechnology News
After recently fending off takeover attempts by US rival Pfizer, British-Swedish drug maker Astrazeneca is eager to show it can pull its own weight with a multimillion euro lung drug deal with Spanish rival Almirall. Astrazeneca said it would initially pay €653m for the rights the respiratory franchise of Barcelona-based Almirall, including drugs in development. The deal could net Almirall another €896m if development, launch and sales milestones are met.
AZ made around €950m in respiratory drug sales in the first quarter of 2014, mainly from its two products Symbicort and Pulmicort. The respiratory business is a "key growth platform" for AZ, and Almirall’s drugs will significantly bolster it. The transaction, which is expected to complete by the end of 2014, includes revenues from Almirall’s existing partnerships, as well as its pipeline of investigational novel therapies. Apart from Eklira (aclidinium), which is already on the market, the franchise includes LAS40464, the combination of aclidinium with formoterol which has been filed for registration in the EU, LAS100977 (abediterol), a once-daily long-acting beta2-agonist in Phase II and several pre-clinical programmes. Under the agreement, Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary focused on the development of inhalation devices, will also transfer to Astrazeneca. The companies anticipate that a significant number of employees dedicated to the respiratory business - which includes Almirall Sofotec employees - will make the shift to Astrazeneca.
This is just one of a number of partnerships AZ has recently launched in their business with respiratory drugs. Just within the last few days, the company announced a collaboration with Swiss Roche to develop a plasma-based companion diagnostic test to support AZ’s investigational compound for non-small-cell lung cancer and a collaboration with Netherlands-based Qiagen to develop a diagnostic test to identify non-small cell lung cancer patients who are suitable for treatment with AZ's drug Iressa; and last month, the pharma company signed a licence agreement with Synairgen for its experimental asthma drug SNG001.
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