Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (AZN) announced an agreement to sell the commercial rights to its heart failure and hypertension prescription drug Atacand in over 70 countries to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH for $400 million. The shares fell 0.4% to £78.5.

AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Atacand and AtacandPlus while also continuing to commercialise the drug during the three-year transition period. The drug was developed in collaboration with Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

German firm Cheplapharm already owns the rights to Atacand in Europe so today’s announcement ‘will now ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in additional countries across the globe’ commented Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of Astra’s BioPharmaceuticals business unit.

The deal is expected to be completed this quarter, triggering a $250 million payment with the remainder payable during the first-half of 2021. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

The drugs generated revenues of $148 million in 2019, contributing pre-tax profits of $89 million in the countries covered by the agreement. The divestment is not expected to impact financial guidance for 2020.

The sale forms part of AstraZeneca’s existing strategy to ‘carefully manage mature medicines’ enabling the reinvestment into the firm’s core therapy areas including oncology, respiratory, immunology, vaccines and neuroscience.

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Issue Date: 30 Oct 2020