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15 Nov 2018

Pharma Disinvestment deal: AstraZeneca to divest Synagis US rights to Sobi

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AstraZeneca has agreed to sell US rights to Synagis (palivizumab) used for the prevention of serious lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (Sobi). Sobi 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, 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.”

Sobi President and CEO Guido Oelkers said: “I am excited about adding Synagis to our portfolio as it remains the only product preventing RSV infection in this vulnerable patient group with a great medical need. The addition of Synagis will become an important catalyst for Sobi’s future development and will form a powerful platform for growth in rare diseases.”

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will receive an upfront consideration of US$ 1.5 billion, consisting of US$ 1.0 billion in cash and US$ 500 milion in ordinary shares of Sobi upon completion. This would equate to an ownership interest of 8 per cent, based on the current Sobi share price. AstraZeneca has undertaken not to sell the shares received as consideration for a period of 12 months following the closing date of the transaction. The cash proceeds from the transaction will be used for general corporate purposes.

AstraZeneca will also receive up to US$ 470 million in sales-related payments for Synagis, a US$ 175 milion milestone following the submission of the Biologics License Application for MEDI8897; potential net payments of approximately US$ 110 million on achievement of other MEDI8897 profit and development-related milestones; and a total of US$ 60 milion in non-contingent payments for MEDI8897 during 2019-2021. Under the agreement, Sobi will have the right to participate in payments that may be received by AstraZeneca from the US profits or losses for MEDI8897. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and is currently expected to complete very early 2019. AstraZeneca will provide additional information if closing conditions are achieved earlier and the agreement can complete late 2018.

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