AstraZeneca sells two heart drugs to China Medical for $500 mln

LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca said on Monday it had sold the rights to two ageing heart drugs to China Medical System Holdings for $500 million, marking the latest step in an ongoing programme of divestments for non-core assets.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is relying heavily on so-called externalisation deals to raise cash and cushion profits during a period of patent expiries on older blockbusters and high investment in new medicines.

China Medical will pay AstraZeneca $310 million for a licence to sell blood pressure medicine Plendil in China, although the British-based company will still manufacture the drug and retain global rights outside China.

Plendil was first approved in China in 1995 and had sales in 2015 of $189 million.

The Chinese group is also paying $190 million for global rights to angina treatment Imdur outside the United States. Imdur’s global sales outside the U.S. were $57 million last year.

AstraZeneca said the deals would not impact its financial guidance for 2016. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Keith Weir)