AstraZeneca sells overseas rights to mental health drug Seroquel

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Creative Commons photo.

AstraZenecahas entered into an agreement with China-based Luye Pharma Group, Ltd. for the sale and license of the rights toSeroquelandSeroquel XRin the UK, China and other international markets, including Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Argentina, Malaysia and South Africa.

The transaction is part of AstraZeneca’s strategy to focus on three main therapy areas of Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory after reaching a “patent cliff” that came after Seroquel, Nexium and other multi-billion dollar drugs lost patent protection.

Seroquel, used primarily to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disease, has lost its compound patent protection globally; theSeroquelXR formulation patents have now also expired in the vast majority of markets. AstraZeneca partnered the rights toSeroquelandSeroquel XRin Japan and Venezuela under prior agreements.

Seroquel was the cornerstone of AstraZeneca’s research efforts at its now razed Delaware labs in north Wilmington. Use of the powerful drug, led to settlements over “off-label” prescribing by physiciansfor other mental conditions.

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AstraZeneca never admitted fault in its marketing efforts for the drug, which has side effects that can include weight gain tied to other conditions

The drug isone of the best sellers of all time with lifetime revenues of nearly $45 billion.

Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca, said: “The agreement with Luye Pharma is in line with AstraZeneca’s strategy to focus on three main therapy areas while maximizing the value from our legacy medicines likeSeroquel. The agreement with Luye Pharma will also ensure continued widespread patient access to important established medicines.”

Luye Pharma will pay $538 million in consideration including $260 millionimmediately following closure of the transaction.

In addition, a milestone is payable on the successful transition of certain activities to Luye. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supplySeroquelandSeroquel XRto Luye Pharma during a transition period.

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