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Next stop in AstraZeneca fire sale: China

October 14, 2016
Life sciences

AstraZeneca keeps hanging out the “for sale” sign. While diabetes care is an expanding market in many emerging markets like China, this latest deal reflects the British pharma’s strategy of shifting toward core therapeutic areas, such as oncology and respiratory, and selling off non-core assets.

Chinese revenues for Byetta and Bydureon are growing but remained marginal over the past two years. Total sales attributable to the two drugs in China hit $11.3 million in 2014 and $14.6 million in 2015, 3SBio said.

Under the deal, AstraZeneca grants an exclusive license to Hongkong Sansheng, a wholly-owned subsidiary of 3SBio, for the commercialization of the licensed products in China. AstraZeneca still retains rights to license the products outside China along with certain rights not tied to commercialization of the licensed products in China.

Byetta was approved by Chinese regulators in August 2009, and AstraZeneca submitted an application for approval this past May for Bydureon.

AstraZeneca is under pressure to meet CEO Pascal Soriot’s ambitious target of $45 billion in annual revenues by 2023. That goal is looking increasingly unattainable, especially as revenue from drugs like Crestor drops in the face of generic competition.

Yet AstraZeneca has high hopes for its efforts in oncology, and has seen promising early commercial returns from lung cancer drug Targrisso. But the real jewel is the experimental checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab, which is being tested in a range of cancers. Stiff competition could hurt AstraZeneca’s chances of growing revenue in this space, however.

By Joe Cantlupe

Source: BioPharma Dive

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