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AstraZeneca flogs two drug licenses in $922 million deal

Published on 31/10/18 at 12:58pm

AstraZeneca has signed a deal with Grünenthal worth up to $922 million in which the latter will acquire the regional rights to two of the pharma giant’s drugs.

The first acquisition of the deal will award Grünenthal the exclusive marketing rights in 33 European countries for Nexium (esomeprazole), a proton pump inhibitor which is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux conditions and ulcers. The drug continues to make significant sales despite a loss of exclusivity, having generated $248 million in total prescription sales in in-scope markets in 2017.

The second acquisition is Vimovo, (naproxen/esomeprazole) which combines a pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with the same active ingredient as is found in Nexium. The drug is used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric and/or duodenal ulcers, and Grünenthal will acquire marketing rights for the therapy in all global markets excluding the US and Japan. The drug made $79 million in in-scope markets in 2017, and is patent-protected in most European regions until 2025.  

“This acquisition is the biggest single investment in Grünenthal's history and an important step in pursuing our vision of creating a world free of pain for patients," commented Grünenthal CEO Gabriel Baertschi. “There is a high unmet medical need for patients on long-term high-dose NSAIDs. Despite all guidelines recommending gastrointestinal protection for these patients, evidence suggests that many remain unprotected and one out of four may develop stomach ulcer with its serious health complications. Therefore, combining Grünenthal's extensive pain expertise with the well-established products Nexium and Vimovo is a perfect strategic fit.”

Matt Fellows

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