AstraZeneca has signed a deal worth up to $41m to divest the US and Canada commercial rights to Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate immediate release) and Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate extended release) to German pharma company Cheplapharm Arzneimittel.
The transaction has been taken up by AstraZeneca as the compound patent protection of the two drugs is no longer valid in the two countries. It would also allow the pharma major to focus on its main therapy areas.
Both Seroquel and Seroquel XR are mainly used in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seroquel XR is also approved in certain markets for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
The two drugs are atypical anti-psychotic medicines that have antidepressant properties.
As per the terms of the deal, Cheplapharm will pay $35m upfront to AstraZeneca and could also make future payments of up to $6m based on sales of the drugs.
Last year, Seroquel had sales revenue of $36m in the US and Canada, while Seroquel XR fetched $79m in the same markets.
AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply the antidepressant drugs to Cheplapharm during a transition period. The company said that as there were no closing conditions in the transaction, the agreement came into effect upon signing.
AstraZeneca biopharmaceuticals business unit executive vice president Ruud Dobber said: “This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas.
“Cheplapharm recently agreed to acquire the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in most European markets and Russia from AstraZeneca and this new agreement will help ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in North America as well.”
In June 2018, AstraZeneca closed a deal worth $538m with Luye Pharma Group under which it agreed for the sale and licence of the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, Chinese, and other international markets.
Earlier this year, the company agreed to sell the rights to the two antidepressant drugs in Europe (except the UK) and Russia to Cheplapharm. This transaction, which is due to be closed in the fourth quarter of 2019, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.