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Case Study: AstraZeneca to sublicense its global rights to Movantik
28 Feb 2020

Case Study: AstraZeneca to sublicense its global rights to Movantik

AstraZeneca has agreed to sublicense its global rights to Movantik (naloxegol), excluding Europe, Canada and Israel, to RedHill Biopharma (RedHill). Movantik is a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (PAMORA) indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC).

Disinvestment is quite common phenomenon in pharmaceutical business development arena. Offloading of a product(s) which is not a strategic fit, or which is aging in return for extra cash is what pharmaceutical companies always look for. This divestment supports our strategy to realize value from medicines in our portfolio that are mature or outside our current scope to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas. Movantik is an important established medicine and the divestment to RedHill will ensure its continued availability for patients.”

As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Movantik to RedHill during a transition period. In 2015, AstraZeneca entered into a co-commercialisation agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. for Movantik in the US, which will be transferred to RedHill.

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Financials of the deal

  • RedHill will make an upfront payment of $52.5m to AstraZeneca on closing and a further non-contingent payment of $15m in 2021.
  • Income arising from the upfront payment, offset by a charge for derecognition of the associated intangible asset, and the future payment will be reported in AstraZeneca’s financial statements within Other Operating Income & Expense.
  • In 2019, Movantik generated sales of $96m in the US. The divestment is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

AstraZeneca’s Movantik sale comes months after the drugmaker also offloaded global rights for heartburn med Losac. In that deal, AstraZeneca agreed to turn over global commercial rights—excluding four countries—for Losec (omeprazole) for $243 million to German pharma Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH. The deal included sales-contingent milestone payments up to $33 million in 2021 and 2022. 

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