German pharmaceutical firm Cheplapharm Arzneimittel has signed an agreement to acquire commercial rights for Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the US and Canada from AstraZeneca.

Seroquel is an immediate-release formulation of quetiapine fumarate for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Meanwhile, Seroquel XR is an extended-release formulation for major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.

The drugs have lost their patent protection in multiple markets, including the US and Canada. Last year, Seroquel and Seroquel XR recorded $36m and $79m in sales, respectively, in these countries.

AstraZeneca will receive $35m in upfront payment from Cheplapharm and is also eligible for up to $6m in future sales-contingent payments.

The divestiture is part of AstraZeneca’s strategy to reinvest in core therapy areas. The deal is not associated with any closing conditions and became effective upon signing, said the company.

AstraZeneca agreed to produce and supply the drugs to Cheplapharm during a transition period.

In October the company agreed to sell the commercial rights for the drugs in Europe and Russia to Cheplapharm. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances and is expected to close over the coming months.

AstraZeneca BioPharmaceuticals business unit executive vice-president Ruud Dobber said: “This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas.

“Cheplapharm recently agreed to acquire the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in most European markets and Russia from AstraZeneca and this new agreement will help ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in North America as well.”

AstraZeneca agreed in May last year to sell rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, Japan, China and other international markets to Luye Pharma.