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January 28, 2019

AstraZeneca divests Synagis US rights to Sobi for $1.6bn

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) has completed the acquisition of US rights to AstraZeneca’s Synagis (palivizumab) drug for a total consideration of $1.6bn.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) has completed its acquisition of US rights to AstraZeneca’s Synagis (palivizumab) drug for a total consideration of $1.6bn.

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As per the terms of the transaction, AstraZeneca will receive a $1bn cash consideration, as well as $590m in shares in Sobi, which represents an 8% share in the company.

In addition, approximately 130 AstraZeneca employees have been transferred to Sobi, which will commercialise the drug in the US.

Synagis is a preventative medicine indicated to prevent serious lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in high-risk infants.

Under the terms of the deal, Sobi will also hold the right to participate in payments from the US profits or losses for an investigational new drug, MEDI8897, which is also indicated for RSV-induced LRTI.

MEDI8897, a monoclonal antibody, is being developed by AstraZeneca in alliance with Sanofi Pasteur.

The agreement also covers sales-related payments for Synagis, as well as profit and development-related milestones and non-contingent payments for MEDI8897 from Sobi to AstraZeneca.

“Significant top line addition is expected to give Sobi substantial recurring earnings to further advance the US expansion and enable future strategic acquisitions over the mid-term.”

Sobi signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy US rights to Synagis in November last year.

The acquisition complements Sobi’s paediatrics footprint, and boosts its immunology franchise that consists of Kineret and emapalumab.

Sobi also expects the transaction to bolster its revenue and size in the US by double; the deal offers access to an established US sales and marketing organisation, thus supporting the company’s growth in the country.

Announcing the completion of the deal, Sobi said in a release: “Significant top line addition is expected to give Sobi substantial recurring earnings to further advance the US expansion and enable future strategic acquisitions over the mid-term, positioning the company well for its next phase of growth.

“Synagis sales for LTM 30 June 2018 were $269m (SEK2.4bn). Sobi expects the product to generate an EBITA margin in excess of 60% and that the transaction will be accretive to earnings per share in 2019.”

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