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16 November, 2018 - 20:40 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca in line for $2.3bn haul for US drug rights

Cambridge pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has paved the way for a potential $2.315 billion return after agreeing to sell the US rights of a drug to treat lower respiratory tract infection to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi).

Sobi, which has Cambridge operations at Granta Park, will commercialise Synagis in the US and around 130 AstraZeneca employees will transfer to Sobi as part of the transaction.

Sobi will also have the right to participate in AstraZeneca’s share of US profits and losses related to potential new medicine MEDI8897. 

AstraZeneca will continue to develop MEDI8897 in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi S.A.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive officer, said: “We continue to streamline our portfolio, allowing AstraZeneca to allocate resources more effectively, while Sobi’s focus on Synagis will enable infants in the US to continue benefiting from this important treatment. Meanwhile, the successful development and commercialisation of MEDI8897 remains important for AstraZeneca.”

AstraZeneca will receive an upfront consideration of $1.5bn, consisting of $1bn in cash and $500m in ordinary shares of Sobi on completion. 

AZ will also receive up to $470 million in sales-related payments for Synagis, a $175m milestone following the submission of the Biologics License Application for MEDI8897; potential net payments of approximately $110m on achievement of other MEDI8897 profit and development-related milestones; and a total of $60m in non-contingent payments for MEDI8897 during 2019-2021. 

Sobi will have the right to participate in payments that may be received by AstraZeneca from the US profits or losses for MEDI8897.

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