AstraZeneca PLC Slams Down $600 Million for Actavis Lung Unit

Published: Feb 05, 2015

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) Slams Down $600 Million for Actavis (ACT) Lung Unit
February 5, 2015
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

DUBLIN – In a $600 million deal, pharmaceutical-manufacturer AstraZeneca PLC has acquired the rights to Actavis PLC’s branded respiratory business in North America.

London-based AstraZeneca the second largest drug maker in the United Kingdom, will own the development and commercial rights in the U.S. and Canada to Tudorza Pressair, an aclidinium bromide inhalation powder, which is a twice-a-day medication for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Daliresp, a once-daily oral PDE4 inhibitor for COPD. In 2014 the two medications had a combined annual sale of $230 million in the United States.

The deal was made during a time when AstraZeneca is seeking to drive growth, after a disappointing fourth quarter for 2014. The company is hoping to build on the success of respiratory sales in 2014, which grew by about 10 percent. The company is predicting a 75 percent jump in annual respiratory sales to $45 billion by 2023, according to reports.

As part of the deal AstraZeneca will also own North American developmental rights for LAS40464, a combination of a fixed dose of aclidinium with formoterol long acting beta agonist, which is approved in the EU under the brand name Duaklir Genuair.

Paul Hudson, president of AstraZeneca U.S., said the acquisition of the Actavis products builds upon the company’s 2014 acquisition of Almirall's respiratory portfolio.

“With the addition of Tudorza and Daliresp, we will benefit from an immediate boost to revenue in our biggest market, further strengthening our growing respiratory franchise,” Hudson said in a statement.

Actavis CEO Brent Saunders said the divesture of the pulmonary medications in North America will allow the company to focus more strongly on its core therapeutic categories in women’s health, urology, cardiovascular, dermatology and other areas.

“The decision to divest these brand respiratory products will have no impact on our commitment to investing in and developing our generic respiratory product line," Saunders said in a released statement announcing the deal with AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca will also pay Actavis an additional $100 million, and Actavis has agreed to a number of contractual consents and approvals, including certain amendments to the ongoing collaboration agreements between AstraZeneca and Actavis. The transaction is subject to antitrust law clearance as well as other customary terms and conditions. It is anticipated that the transaction will complete in the first quarter of 2015.

AstraZeneca’s acquisition announcement comes on the heels of disappointing fourth quarter reports for 2014. The company announced earnings fell 2 percent during the quarter, primarily due to sales slipping for its two biggest selling medications, acid reflux drug Nexium, which saw a 16 percent decline in sales, and Crestor, used to control cholesterol, which saw a 5 percent drop. Nexium sales were about $832 million, while Crestor earned about $1.38 billion, according to reports. Earnings for 2014 were $26.1 billion, which fell short of predictions by approximately $600 million. In its earnings report the company predicted 2015 sales would also be less than originally anticipated. AstraZeneca fended off a $118 billion acquisition bid by Pfizer last year.

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