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AstraZeneca divests rights to three ciclesonide drugs to Covis Pharma in $371m deal


08/11/2018

AstraZeneca has agreed to divest its rights for three ciclesonide medications to to Swiss speciality pharmaceutical firm Covis Pharma. The deal, worth up to $371 million, is for Alvesco (for asthma), Omnaris and Zetonna (for hay fever) and the agreement between involves rights in markets outside the US, along with the US royalties for the drugs. Thre three products generated $106m in product sales last year.

Covis Pharma, which currently commercialises all three medicines in the US, will own them after the completion of the transaction. Delivered using a metered-dose inhaler, Alvesco is an anti-inflammatory maintenance therapy indicated for the treatment of persistent asthma. Omnaris and Zetonna are formulated as nasal sprays for addressing nasal symptoms caused by seasonal allergic and allergic/non-allergic perennial rhinitis.

AstraZeneca Global Product and Portfolio Strategy executive vice-president Mark Mallon said: “One of our strategic objectives is to divest parts of our portfolio, allowing us to allocate resources to develop innovative new medicines to address unmet patient needs. Covis Pharma has strong capabilities in marketing medicines around the world, and our agreement with them means patients will continue to benefit from Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna. Covis Pharma has strong capabilities in marketing medicines around the world, and our agreement with them means patients will continue to benefit from Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Covis Pharma will pay $350m upon closing to AstraZeneca, which will also receive conditional sales-related payments of up to $21m over four years from next year. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.

Covis Pharma CEO Michael Porter said: “This is an exciting milestone for Covis Pharma and aligned with our strategy to build a global respiratory/allergy franchise. When we acquired the US rights for Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna in 2017, we recognised the importance of these medicines in the respiratory and allergy therapeutic area and we look forward to extending our reach to meet the needs of patients and physicians around the world.”