AstraZeneca has agreed to offload its rights to asthma drug Alvesco (ciclesonide) and nasal sprays Omnaris and Zetonna (ciclesonide) to Covis Pharma for $350m.
The Switzerland-based Covis Pharma will also make conditional sales-related payments for the three over-the-counter (OTC) drugs of up to $21m over four years from 2019.
AstraZeneca global product and portfolio strategy executive vice president Mark Mallon said: “One of our strategic objectives is to divest parts of our portfolio, allowing us to allocate resources to develop innovative new medicines to address unmet patient needs.
“Covis Pharma has strong capabilities in marketing medicines around the world, and our agreement with them means patients will continue to benefit from Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna.”
Alvesco, which is an inhaled anti-inflammatory maintenance therapy, is delivered by a metered-dose inhaler to help control persistent asthma.
Omnaris and Zetonna are used for the treatment of nasal symptoms associated with seasonal allergic and allergic/non-allergic perennial rhinitis. The active ingredient in all the three drugs is ciclesonide, which is a synthetic corticosteroid that aids in reducing inflammation.
The rights being divested by AstraZeneca cover markets outside the US and the US royalties for the three drugs.
Currently, Covis Pharma commercializes Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna in the US and following the closing of the latest deal, will become the owner of the drugs.
Last year, AstraZeneca registered a combined $106m from the sales of Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna.
Covis Pharma CEO Michael Porter said: “This is an exciting milestone for Covis Pharma and aligned with our strategy to build a global respiratory/allergy franchise.
“When we acquired the US rights for Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna in 2017, we recognised the importance of these medicines in the respiratory and allergy therapeutic area and we look forward to extending our reach to meet the needs of patients and physicians around the world.”
The deal, which will be subject to customary closing conditions and expected to be closed by the year end, will not see the transfer of any AstraZeneca employees or the company’s facilities.
Recently, AstraZeneca agreed to divest certain rights of Nexium (esomeprazole) and Vimovo (naproxen/esomeprazole) to Germany-based Grünenthal for $922m.