AstraZeneca divests asthma and rhinitis drug rights to Covis Pharma

December 7, 2018

AstraZeneca has completed its $350m sale of its rights to asthma drug Alvesco (ciclesonide) and nasal sprays Omnaris and Zetonna (ciclesonide) to Switzerland-based Covis Pharma.

The divested rights by the UK-based AstraZeneca to Covis Pharma cover markets outside the US and the US royalties for the three over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

In 2017, AstraZeneca earned a combined $106m from the sales of Alvesco, Zetonna and Omnaris.

Alvesco is an inhaled anti-inflammatory maintenance therapy that is administered through a metered-dose inhaler to help control persistent asthma.

Both Omnaris and Zetonna were developed for the treatment of nasal symptoms resulting from seasonal allergic and allergic/non-allergic perennial rhinitis.

The active ingredient across all the three OTC drugs is ciclesonide, a synthetic corticosteroid that is known to play a role in reducing inflammation.

The deal, which was announced in November 2018, does not include the transfer of any employees or facilities of the pharma major to the Swiss company.

As per the terms of the deal, Covis Pharma will also make conditional sales-related payments for the three drugs of up to $21m to AstraZeneca over four years starting from 2019.

Last year, the Swiss pharma company acquired the US market rights of ciclesonide products Alvesco (ciclesonide) Inhalation Aerosol, Omnaris (ciclesonide) Nasal Spray, and Zetonna (ciclesonide) Nasal Aerosol from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.

For AstraZeneca, the sale of the asthma and rhinitis drug rights to Covis Pharma is part of its strategic objectives to divest parts of its portfolio to allocate resources to develop new medicines to address unmet patient needs.

AstraZeneca, in a statement, said: “As AstraZeneca will not maintain a significant ongoing interest in the medicines, the upfront payment, net of a significant, non-cash derecognition of an intangible asset will be reported as Other Operating Income & Expense in the Company’s financial statements in the fourth quarter of 2018. The agreement does not affect the Company’s financial guidance for 2018.”

Last month, the company agreed to divest the US rights of its respiratory drug Synagis (palivizumab) to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) in a deal worth $1.5bn.

Source: PBR