AstraZeneca boosts respiratory portfolio with Almirall deal

Transaction calls for an initial consideration of $875 million, with up to $1.22 billion in milestones

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LONDON—AstraZeneca and Almirall, a Barcelona, Spain-based pharmaceutical company, have announced an agreement under which Almirall will transfer to AstraZeneca the rights to its respiratory franchise. Per the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay an initial consideration of $875 million upon completion, with the potential for up to $1.22 billion in development, launch and sales-related milestones. Almirall is also eligible for various other sales-related payments. Once the transaction is complete, AstraZeneca will own the development and commercialization rights for Almirall’s existing proprietary respiratory business, which includes rights to revenues from existing Almirall partnerships and its pipeline of investigational novel therapies. In addition, Almirall Sofotec, a subsidiary of Almirall that focuses on developing innovative proprietary devices, will also be transferred to AstraZeneca.
 
“This important agreement allows us to better develop our assets and expertise in respiratory with AstraZeneca, an experienced player in this therapeutic area. It also allows us to better balance the costs, risks and returns of the respiratory business while retaining an important economic interest in its future success,” Jorge Gallardo, president of Almirall, said in a press release. “All this constitutes a very solid baseline to move more aggressively in specialty areas and particularly towards becoming a global dermatology player. R&D will remain a key part of Almirall’s business going forward and hopefully a significant long-term growth driver.”
 
Almirall’s respiratory franchise includes Eklira; LAS40464, a combination of aclidinium with formoterol; LAS100977, a once-daily, long-acting beta2-agonist in Phase 2 development; an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist platform in preclinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and Phase 1 (LAS190792); and a number of preclinical programs.
 
“Our agreement with Almirall brings strategic and long-term value to AstraZeneca’s strong respiratory franchise, one of our key growth platforms. We will benefit from immediate and growing product revenues which we anticipate will be rapidly accretive to earnings. Chronic respiratory disease affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. By combining our innovative portfolios and leveraging AstraZeneca’s global scientific and commercial capabilities, we will strengthen our ability to address the entire spectrum of care in asthma and COPD. I very much look forward to welcoming the Almirall people to our company,” Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, commented in a press release.
 
AstraZeneca expects this transaction to be neutral to its core earnings per share in 2015 and accretive in 2016, with no impact on its guidance for 2014.
 
The companies expect that a significant number of employees dedicated to Almirall’s respiratory franchise, including Almirall Sofotec employees, will transfer to AstraZeneca in keeping with this transaction. The deal is subject to certain completion law clearances and customary terms and conditions, and has an expected completion date of the end of this year.
 
 
SOURCE: AstraZeneca press release


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