AstraZeneca to Acquire Almirall’s Respiratory Franchise

AstraZeneca has formed an agreement with Almirall, a Barcelona-based pharmaceutical company, by which Almirall will transfer its rights to its respiratory franchise to AstraZeneca for an initial consideration of $875 million upon completion of the deal and up to $1.22 billion in development, launch, and sales-related milestones. AstraZeneca has also agreed to make various sales-related payments.

Upon completion of the transaction, AstraZeneca will own the rights for the development and commercialization of Almirall's existing proprietary respiratory business, including rights to revenues from Almirall's existing partnerships as well as its pipeline of investigational therapies. The franchise includes Eklira (aclidinium); LAS40464, the combination of aclidinium with formoterol, which has been filed for registration in the European Union and is being developed in the US; LAS100977 (abediterol), a once-daily long-acting beta2-agonist  in Phase II; an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist platform in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and Phase I (LAS190792); and multiple pre-clinical programs. Under the agreement, Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary focused on the development of innovative proprietary devices, will also transfer to AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca and Almirall anticipate that, subject to local consultation and legislation, a significant number of employees dedicated to the respiratory business, including Almirall Sofotec employees, will transfer to AstraZeneca.

Almirall's pipeline of respiratory assets and its device capabilities further strengthen AstraZeneca's respiratory portfolio, which includes Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate) and Pulmicort (budesonide) as well as the company's investigational medicines in development. The addition of aclidinium and the combination of aclidinium with formoterol, both in proprietary Genuair devices, will allow AstraZeneca to offer patients a choice between dry-powder inhaler and metered-dose inhaler devices across a range of molecules and combinations.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca said in a company statement: “Our agreement with Almirall brings strategic and long-term value to AstraZeneca's strong respiratory franchise, one of our key growth platforms. We will benefit from immediate and growing product revenues, which we anticipate will be rapidly accretive to earnings. Chronic respiratory disease affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. By combining our innovative portfolios and leveraging AstraZeneca's global scientific and commercial capabilities, we will strengthen our ability to address the entire spectrum of care in asthma and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease].”

AstraZeneca intends to finance the transaction from existing cash resources and short-term credit facilities. Based on the anticipated timing of completion, AstraZeneca says the transaction will have no impact on its guidance for 2014.The transaction is subject to certain competition law clearances as well as other customary terms and conditions. The companies anticipate the transaction will be completed by the end of 2014.

Source: AstraZeneca

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