AstraZeneca sells some rights to Nexium, Vimovo to Grunenthal

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is seen at the company's China Commercial Innovation Centre (CCIC) in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Adam Jourdan

LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca AZN.L said it would sell the European rights to acid-reflux medicine Nexium to Grunenthal for an upfront $700 million and future sales-related payments of up to $90 million as it is not in the company's targeted therapy areas.

The British company said Grunenthal, a privately owned German company, would also buy the worldwide rights, excluding the United Sates and Japan, to pain-relief drug Vimovo for $115 million plus potential additional payments of up to $17 million.

Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor developed by AstraZeneca, has lost patent protection in the majority of global markets, while Vimovo is protected in most European markets until 2025.

The rights to over-the-counter Nexium were sold to Pfizer PFE.N in 2012.

AstraZeneca said it would continue to manufacture and supply Nexium under a long-term supply agreement and will continue to commercialize the medicine in all markets outside Europe.

The pharmaceutical company is focusing on the three main therapy areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory.

(This story has been refiled to fix typo in 2nd paragraph)

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton