AstraZeneca sells commercial rights to two drugs in $400 million deal

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Friday it would sell commercial rights for two of its drugs to a German pharmaceutical company for $400 million as the British drugmaker looks to focus on newer medicines in new therapy areas.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

AstraZeneca said it would sell rights for its heart failure and blood pressure medicines Atacand and Atacand Plus to Germany’s Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH.

AstraZeneca, which is among the front-runners in the race to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, has been trying to focus on its cancer drug portfolio in a bid to streamline its business.

The agreement with Cheplapharm supports AstraZeneca’s strategy of focusing on newer medicines in main therapy areas, the drugmaker said.

The London-listed company has been seen as having a head start in the race for cancer treatments and sales of those medicines, including blockbuster lung cancer drug Imfinzi, have been key to its turnaround.

Cheplapharm, which has held the European rights for Atacand and Atacand Plus since 2018, will now be allowed to sell them in around 70 countries.

Atacand is a prescription drug approved to treat heart failure and hypertension, while Atacand Plus is used for hypertension.

The transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, will not impact its 2020 financial forecast, AstraZeneca said.

The company said $250 million of the $400 million consideration will be payable on deal completion, with the remainder in the first half of 2021.

AstraZeneca will manufacture and supply both the medicines and commercialise them during a three-year transition period, the company said.

Last year, AstraZeneca sold global commercial rights for its drug to treat acid reflux to Cheplapharm for up to $276 million.

AstraZeneca shares were trading slightly lower at 0907 GMT.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Jason Neely