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AstraZeneca Buys Rights to Almirall Respiratory Franchise

Published: Monday, August 04, 2014
Last Updated: Monday, August 04, 2014
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AstraZeneca agrees an initial consideration of $875 million on completion, which may rise to $1.22 billion in development, launch, and sales-related milestones.

Upon completion of the transaction, AstraZeneca will own the rights for the development and commercialisation of Almirall’s existing proprietary respiratory business, including rights to revenues from Almirall’s existing partnerships, as well as its pipeline of investigational novel therapies. The franchise includes Eklira® (aclidinium); LAS40464, the combination of aclidinium with formoterol which has been filed for registration in the EU and is being developed in the US; LAS100977 (abediterol), a once-daily long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) in Phase II; an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist (MABA) platform in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and Phase I (LAS190792); and multiple pre-clinical programmes. Under the agreement, Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary focused on the development of innovative proprietary devices, will also transfer to AstraZeneca.

The business combination will give AstraZeneca immediate access to on-market revenues, contributing to the company’s return to growth. The company expects the transaction to be neutral to Core EPS in 2015 and accretive from 2016. AstraZeneca intends to finance the transaction from existing cash resources and short-term credit facilities. Based on the anticipated timing of completion, the transaction will have no impact on AstraZeneca’s guidance for 2014.

Almirall’s pipeline of novel respiratory assets and its device capabilities further strengthen AstraZeneca’s respiratory portfolio, which includes Symbicort® and Pulmicort®, as well as the company’s investigational medicines in development. The addition of aclidinium and the combination of aclidinium with formoterol, both in proprietary Genuair® device, will allow AstraZeneca to offer patients a choice between dry powder inhaler and metered dose inhaler devices across a range of molecules and combinations.

AstraZeneca and Almirall anticipate that, subject to local consultation and legislation, a significant number of employees dedicated to the respiratory business, including Almirall Sofotec employees, will transfer to AstraZeneca.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca said: “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.”

Jorge Gallardo, President of Almirall said: “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. 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."

The transaction is subject to certain competition law clearances as well as other customary terms and conditions. The companies anticipate the transaction will complete by the end of 2014.

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