AstraZeneca sells US rights to 4 non-core drugs
- Continuing efforts to focus R&D, AstraZeneca plc closed out the year with yet another non-core asset sale that hands ANI Pharmaceuticals Inc. the U.S. rights and New Drug Applications to four drugs.
- ANI agreed to pay $46.5 million in cash, royalties, and sales-based milestones to gain access to AstraZeneca's hypertension drugs Atacand and Atacand HCT and cancer treatments Arimidex and Casodex. Combined, the products fetched $19 million in U.S. market sales from November 2016 through October 2017, according to IMS Health data cited in a Friday statement.
- The portfolio additions will materially increase ANI's revenue and EBITDA in 2018, according to company CEO Arthur Przybyl. The Baudette, Minnesota-based specialty pharma took home $130 million worth of net revenue from January through the end of September.
AstraZeneca set quite the bullish goal a few years back, estimating it would hit at least $45 billion in revenue by 2023. That goal has become even more ambitious of late, as the company's R&D efforts have failed to deliver the anticipated commercial returns. Declining revenue from flagship franchises like Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) and Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol), while expected, have hurt the company's bottom lines.
Over the first nine months of 2017, the British drugmaker recorded product sales of $14.7 billion, an 8% decline from the same period in 2016.
Weaker sales have pushed AstraZeneca to divert most of its attention to new drug launches — particularly ones in the oncology setting. Since May, the company has received FDA approvals for its PD-L1 inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab), blood cancer drug Calquence (acalabrutinib) and PARP inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib).
In the meantime, the company has been rapidly selling non-core assets as a way to generate cash to bridge between now and when new launches begin to deliver material returns. Deals with Gruenthal, Aspen Global Inc. and Recordati S.p.A., for instance, handed AstraZeneca more than $1 billion in upfront payments alone.
"We're in the process of launching seven new products, so that's a very substantial number of launches that will boost our growth," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said during a third quarter earnings call, adding that his company has also got five products on China's national drug reimbursement list. "That will further accelerate our growth rate in China," he said, "so those are kind of mostly the two ... big events on the top line."
While Atacand (candesartan cilexetil), Atacand HCT (candesartan cilexetil-hydrochlorothiazide), Arimidex (anastrozole) and Casodex (bicalutamide) are by no means AstraZeneca's biggest sellers, the British drugmaker does retain ex-U.S. rights to the drugs per deal terms with ANI. That's important, given that Casodex and Arimidex each made more than $150 million outside the U.S. during the first three quarters of 2017.
ANI, meanwhile, is still happy to take in U.S. sales from the drugs; "[T]his acquisition complements our brand and generic strategies and further expands and diversifies our commercial portfolio," Pryzbyl said in the Dec. 29 statement. He also said his company, which functions as a contract manufacturer as well, has the ability to manufacture and package the four products at its containment facility in Baudette.
ANI intends to fund the deal with cash and debt. As of Sept. 30, the pharma had $18 million in cash and cash equivalents.
- ANI Pharmaceuticals Inc. Press release
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