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AstraZeneca jettisons schizophrenia drug for $538 million

Published on 08/05/18 at 10:20am

AstraZeneca has confirmed it has signed a deal to jettison its schizophrenia drug Seroquel and its extended release version Seroquel XR to Chinese firm Luye Pharma for a total $538 million, it has emerged.

The move is another step in AZ’s push to discard non-core assets and focus on the three areas of respiratory, oncology, and cardiovascular, renal and metabolism. Luye will pay £260 million upfront, with $278 million to follow in milestone payments, for the rights to the drug in the UK, China, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Argentina, Malaysia and South Africa.

Seroquel generated $85 million in these regions for AZ last year while Seroquel XR made $63 million, but the loss of the drug’s patent protection has made it a target for competition in recent times.

“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,” explained Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca. “The agreement with Luye Pharma will also ensure continued widespread patient access to important established medicines.”

Dr Yehong Zhang, Head of Luye Pharma (International) added: “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.”

Matt Fellows

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