AstraZeneca strikes Zoladex deal with TerSera Therapeutics

The injectable hormone agonist is used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer and certain benign gynecological disorders

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LONDON—Feb. 20 saw AstraZeneca announce that it had entered into a more than $300-million agreement with TerSera Therapeutics LLC—a U.S. company with offices in Illinois and Iowa—for the commercial rights to Zoladex (goserelin acetate implant) in the United States and Canada. Zoladex is an injectable luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist, used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer and certain benign gynecological disorders. It first received U.S. and Canadian approval in 1989.
TerSera itself only came into existence a little over a year ago. On Feb. 4, 2016, GTCR, a private equity firm, announced that it had entered into a partnership with Ed Fiorentino to form TerSera as a company that would focus on acquiring specialty pharmaceutical companies and products, with initial target acquisition opportunities including products which are already approved or currently marketed, as well as late-stage development assets.
This deal with AstraZeneca is the only news on the TerSera website since the announcement of the formation of TerSera and thus, presumably, this represents the company’s first-ever product acquisition.
TerSera will pay AstraZeneca $250 million upon completion. AstraZeneca will also receive sales-related income through milestones totaling up to $70 million, as well as recurring quarterly sales-based payments at mid-teen percent of product sales. AstraZeneca will also manufacture and supply Zoladex to TerSera, providing a further source of ongoing income from Zoladex in the United States and Canada.
“This agreement allows us to retain a significant share of the value of Zoladex in the U.S. and Canada, while concentrating our resources on our innovative new oncology medicines,” said Mark Mallon, executive vice president of global product and portfolio strategy at AstraZenec. “It also ensures patients have continued access to Zoladex, with TerSera’s dedicated focus helping to expand the potential of this important medicine.”
Ed Fiorentino, Chairman and CEO of TerSera Therapeutics, adde: “We are very pleased to be partnering with AstraZeneca, and investing in the future growth of Zoladex, which continues to be a mainstay of treatment for its indicated uses.”
In 2016, product sales for Zoladex were $69 million in the United States and Canada, and $816 million globally. AstraZeneca will continue to commercialize Zoladex in all markets outside the two North American countries. The transaction is expected to complete in the first quarter of this year, subject to customary closing conditions. AstraZeneca will maintain a significant ongoing interest in Zoladex in the United States and Canada through the sustainable and ongoing income from the upfront, milestone, quarterly sales-based and supply payments received from TerSera.
The agreement does not include the transfer of any AstraZeneca employees or facilities and does not impact AstraZeneca’s financial guidance for 2017.
In terms of other relatively recent AstraZeneca deals, the company announced in December that it and Eli Lilly and Co. today announced a worldwide agreement to co-develop MEDI1814, an antibody selective for amyloid-beta 42 that is currently in Phase 1 trials as a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. That same month brought news of a deal with Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson, for the divestment of the rights to Rhinocort Aqua—a nasal spray indicated for allergic and non-allergic rhinitis and for the treatment of nasal polyps—outside the United States.

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