Sector News

AZ's controversial castoffs continue

May 22, 2017
Life sciences

As promised, AstraZeneca is forging ahead with its cast-off strategy—and this time, it’s rights to an aged beta-blocker that’s are on their way out the door.

The British pharma giant announced Monday that it had agreed to sell off European rights to heart med Seloken and related combo Logimax to Italy’s Recordati in exchange for $300 million in a step commercial chief Mark Mallon said in a statement would allow the company to “concentrate our resources on bringing multiple new medicines to patients.” AZ will hang onto the duo in all other markets, it said.

“Recordati’s expertise in cardiovascular disease and established European salesforce will help to expand the commercial potential of the Seloken brands, which are mature medicines for the new AstraZeneca,” Mallon added. The pair netted $110 million in sales on the continent last year.

The sale marks AZ’s latest “externalization” effort, which the company has used to drum up profits in the absence of strong sales. In addition to the patent cliff troubles that have hit the drugmaker over the last few years, lackluster performances from the growth products key to that “new AstraZeneca” story—including diabetes med Farxiga and blood thinner Brilinta—have also plagued the AZ as of late.

“Essentially what we try to do is find value everywhere in the portfolio,” CEO Pascal Soriot said during AZ’s Q4 earnings presentation, with CFO Marc Dunoyer noting that “the externalization is going to continue.”

Critics, though, has railed against the practice’s lack of sustainability as AZ has washed its hands of assets such as gout med Zurampic, whose U.S. rights the company sent to Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in exchange for $265 million in cash, plus royalties; a lineup of antibiotics, which went to Pfizer for $1.5 billion; and an anesthetics stable that South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare snatched up for $770 million.

In the meantime, though, the company has a new approval in hand that should help get things going on the revenue front. Earlier this month, AZ scored its first go-ahead for closely watched immuno-oncology treatment Imfinzi, winning a nod in the crowded bladder cancer market. And shortly thereafter, it surprised the market with positive phase 3 lung cancer maintenance data that went “some way towards securing their IO bogey,” as Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson put it.

“When investors count the major I-O manufacturers,”—Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Roche and AstraZeneca—AZ is “invariably last,” he wrote. “Not any longer—this was a shrewd investment decision … AstraZeneca deserves a tip of the hat.”

With all eyes on its key lung cancer combo data, due out later this year, AstraZeneca could use that bogey. Investors are waiting with baited breath to find out whether AZ’s I-O-plus-CTLA4 combo—which combines Imfinzi with candidate tremelimumab—can top an I-O chemo approach, which Merck has already steered to an FDA approval.

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

October 23, 2021

Novo Nordisk teams with CVS Health on obesity support program ahead of Wegovy DTC launch

Life sciences

As Novo Nordisk gears up to disrupt the obesity market with its newly approved weight-loss drug Wegovy, it is teaming with retail pharmacy giant CVS Health on a new education and nutrition coaching program for people taking anti-obesity meds.

October 23, 2021

GSK-backed Atreca inks license with Gates Medical Research Institute for malaria monoclonal antibody

Life sciences

The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Atreca received $6 million from the Gates Foundation in 2012 to discover potential treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. The foundation has also given grant money to other biopharmas exploring malaria treatments, including Exscientia, which secured $4.2 million last year for such work.

October 23, 2021

A record number of biotechs are going public. Here’s how they’re performing.

Life sciences

At the start of the last decade, the IPO markets weren’t receptive to biotech companies. But by 2013, public investment was pouring into the industry, drawn by scientific advances and boosted by the newfound interest of a broader range of investors. Ever since, biotechs and their backers have ridden a multi-year boom. Keep track of them as they happen with this database.

Send this to a friend