AstraZeneca has agreed to the sale and license of the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR (extended release) in Europe and Russia to German-based Cheplapharm.
Seroquel and Seroquel XR, used in treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have lost patent protection in Europe and Russia.
The drug was reportedly developed at AstraZeneca’s now-razed labs near Wilmington. The company has since moved out of the mental health drug sector while focusing on areas such as cancer and diabetes.
Ruud Dobber, executive vice president, biopharmaceuticals, said: “Seroquel is an important established medicine and this agreement with Cheplapharm will help ensure continued patient access. It forms part of our strategy of reducing the portfolio of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas.”
AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Cheplapharm during a transition period.
At the end of 2018, aggregate pre-tax profits attributable to Seroquel and Seroquel XR were $86 million.
Cheplapharm will make an upfront payment of $178m to AstraZeneca and may also make future sales-contingent payments of up to $61m.
In 2018, Seroquel generated annual product sales of $47 million in the markets covered by this agreement, while Seroquel XR generated $61million.
AstraZeneca has previously disposed of the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, Japan and other major international markets.
A powerful drug, Seroquel, one of AstraZeneca blockbusters, ended up in litigation over its “off label” use for more minor mental health conditions.
Side effects included weight gain and its associated conditions.
AstraZeneca has about 1,500 employees in northern Delaware.