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AstraZeneca sells off US rights to children’s lung disease treatment for up to US$2bn

Over the past couple of weeks, the FTSE 100 drugs giant has sold off the rights to three asthma and hay fever treatments, one heartburn medicine, an arthritis drug and now a lung disease treatment

sneezing baby
130 AstraZeneca employees will move to Sobi as part of the deal

AstraZeneca PLC’s (LON:AZN) recent spate of divestments continued on Tuesday as the pharma giant announced it has struck a deal to sell off the US rights to its Synagis lung disease treatment for almost US$2bn.

The FTSE 100 company will receive US$1.5bn in cash and shares upfront from Stockholm-based rare diseases specialist Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) for the drug. On top of that, Astra also stands to receive up to another US$470mln in sales-related payments.

READ: Astra sells off remaining rights to three asthma and hay fever treatments for US$370mln

Synagis, which has generated just shy of US$120mln in pre-tax profits for AstraZeneca so far this year, helps to prevent serious lower respiratory tract infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus in premature babies or toddlers with chronic lung or heart conditions.

As part of the deal, Sobi will also have the right to participate in AstraZeneca's share of US profits and losses related to potential new medicine MEDI8897.

Like Synagis, MEDI8897 is being developed for the prevention of LRTI caused by RSV in at-risk infants, but it has the potential benefit of only needing to be administered once during the RSV season, whereas Synagis is a once-monthly injection.

READ: Astra offloads rights to two more ‘non-core’ drugs for US$1bn

“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,” said chief executive Pascal Soriot.

“Meanwhile, the successful development and commercialisation of MEDI8897 remains important for AstraZeneca.”

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