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Spain-based Almirall and AstraZeneca have entered into an agreement, involving Almirall transfering the rights to its respiratory franchise to Astrazeneca for an initial consideration of $875m on completion, and up to $1.22bn in development, launch and sales-related milestones.

Following completion of the transaction, AstraZeneca will have the right to develop and commercialise Almirall’s existing proprietary respiratory business, including rights to revenues from its existing partnerships and its pipeline of experimental therapies.

AstraZeneca will have the right to develop and commercialise Almirall’s existing drugs, including Eklira (aclidinium), Phase-II long-acting beta2 agonist LAS100977 (abediterol), an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist platform in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and Phase I (LAS190792).

Under the terms of the agreement, Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary focused on the development of innovative proprietary devices, will also be transferred to AstraZeneca.

“Our agreement with Almirall brings strategic and long-term value to AstraZeneca’s strong respiratory franchise, one of our key growth platforms.”

AstraZeneca claims that this business combination will give the company an immediate access to on-market revenues, contributing to the company’s return to growth.

According to AstraZeneca, Almirall’s pipeline of respiratory assets and its device capabilities further strengthen the company’s respiratory portfolio, which includes Symbicort and Pulmicort and its investigational medicines.

The addition of aclidinium and the combination of aclidinium with formoterol, both in the proprietary Genuair device, will allow AstraZeneca to offer patients a choice between dry powder inhalers and metered dose inhaler devices across a range of molecules and combinations, AstraZeneca said.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “Our agreement with Almirall brings strategic and long-term value to AstraZeneca’s strong respiratory franchise, one of our key growth platforms.

“We will benefit from immediate and growing product revenues which we anticipate will be rapidly accretive to earnings.

“By combining our innovative portfolios and leveraging AstraZeneca’s global scientific and commercial capabilities, we will strengthen our ability to address the entire spectrum of care in asthma and COPD.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2014 and is subject to certain competition law clearances as well as other customary terms and conditions.


Image: AstraZeneca headquarters in London, UK. Photo: courtesy of AstraZeneca plc.