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AstraZeneca to sublicense its global rights to Movantik to RedHill Biopharma

AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has today announced that it has agreed to sublicense its global rights to Movantik (naloxegol), excluding Europe, Canada and Israel, to RedHill Biopharma (RedHill). Movantik is a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation.

Ruud Dobber, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, said: “This divestment supports our strategy to realise value from medicines in our portfolio that are mature or outside our current scope to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas. Movantik is an important established medicine and the divestment to RedHill will ensure its continued availability for patients.”

As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Movantik to RedHill during a transition period. In 2015, AstraZeneca entered into a co-commercialisation agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. for Movantik in the US, which will be transferred to RedHill.

Financial considerations

RedHill will make an upfront payment of $52.5m to AstraZeneca on closing and a further non-contingent payment of $15m in 2021. Income arising from the upfront payment, offset by a charge for derecognition of the associated intangible asset, and the future payment will be reported in AstraZeneca’s financial statements within Other Operating Income & Expense. In 2019, Movantik generated sales of $96m in the US. The divestment is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances. Upon completion, the agreement will not impact the Company’s financial guidance for 2020.

Movantik

Movantik is a once-daily oral PAMORA approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of OIC in adult patients with chronic non-cancer pain. Movantik was licensed from Nektar Therapeutics in 2009. It was developed using Nektar’s oral small-molecule polymer conjugate technology. In 2016, AstraZeneca divested the rights in Europe to ProStrakan Group (now KKI) and the rights in Canada and Israel to Knight Therapeutics.

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