AstraZeneca divests rights to asthma & rhinitis meds

AstraZeneca sells rights to asthma and rhinitis medicines.
AstraZeneca sells rights to medicines Alvesco (ciclesonide), and Omnaris and Zetonna (ciclesonide),

AstraZeneca has entered into an agreement with Covis Pharma to sell its rights to the medicines Alvesco (ciclesonide), used for the treatment of persistent asthma, and Omnaris and Zetonna (ciclesonide), used for the treatment of nasal symptoms associated with rhinitis.

The rights cover markets outside the US and the US royalties for the medicines. Covis Pharma currently commercialises Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna in the US and will become the owner of the medicines upon closing. The transaction does not include the transfer of any AstraZeneca employees or facilities.

Alvesco is an inhaled anti-inflammatory maintenance therapy delivered by a metered-dose inhaler to help control persistent asthma. Omnaris and Zetonna are nasal sprays for the treatment of nasal symptoms associated with seasonal allergic and allergic/non-allergic perennial rhinitis. The active ingredient in all three medicines is ciclesonide, a synthetic corticosteroid that helps relieve inflammation.

Covis Pharma will pay AstraZeneca $350 million upon closing, in addition to conditional sales-related payments of up to $21 million over four years from 2019. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to complete by the end of 2018. As AstraZeneca will not maintain a significant ongoing interest in the medicines following completion, the payments will be recognised as Other Operating Income in the Company’s financial statements. Combined 2017 Product Sales of Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna, recorded by AstraZeneca, were $106 million. The agreement does not affect the Company’s financial guidance for 2018.

Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, said: “Covis Pharma has strong capabilities in marketing medicines around the world, and our agreement with them means patients will continue to benefit from Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna.”

Michael Porter, Chief Executive Officer, Covis Pharma, said: “When we acquired the US rights for Alvesco, Omnaris and Zetonna in 2017, we recognised the importance of these medicines in the respiratory and allergy therapeutic area and we look forward to extending our reach to meet the needs of patients and physicians around the world.”