Luye Pharma Group has granted Cipla Medpro South Africa exclusive rights to distribute and market antipsychotic drug Seroquel in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

The agreement covers rights for Seroquel immediate release and extended-release (XR) formulations.

Seroquel is primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, Seroquel XR holds approval for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder in some countries.

Luye Pharma gained the drugs from AstraZeneca as part of a $538m asset purchase and licensing deal signed in May 2018.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca provided Luye Pharma with some assets, along with a licence to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in 51 countries and regions, including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

With the latest agreement, Luye Pharma granted South Africa, Namibia and Botswana rights to Cipla Medpro, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cipla, India.

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The deal is expected to boost access to the products via Cipla’s business network and resources in local markets.

Currently, Luye Pharma has 40 drug candidates in China and more than ten candidates internationally, with a focus on the central nervous system and cancer therapeutics.

The company is working on antibodies, cell therapies and gene therapies, among other compounds. Besides medicines, the company’s portfolio includes drug delivery technologies such as transdermal drug delivery systems and liposomes.

Luye Pharma operates in more than 80 countries and regions, including the US Europe and Japan. It has research and development (R&D) centres in China, the US and Europe.

Last month, the company granted AstraZeneca’s Chinese division exclusive rights to promote its cholesterol medicine Xuezhikang Capsules in mainland China.

Luye Pharma agreed to retain the asset and commercial sales rights, registration permits, all intellectual property and other product-related rights.