AstraZeneca To Divest Rights to GI Drugs Nexium in EU, Vimovo Worldwide

By Akia Thorpe -

November 2, 2018

AstraZeneca has agreed to divest its rights in Europe to its gastroesophageal reflux disease drug, Nexium (esomeprazole), and its global rights (excluding the US and Japan) for its anti-inflammatory drug, Vimovo (naproxen/esomeprazole), to Grünenthal, an Aachen, Germany-headquartered pharmaceutical company, for approximately $922 million ($815 million upfront)

The divestment is expected to be completed in 2018. For Nexium, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $700 million upon completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $90 million. For Vimovo, Grünenthal will make an upfront payment of $115 million on completion. AstraZeneca may also receive future milestones and sales-related payments of up to $17 million.

AstraZeneca says that both medicines are outside it’s three main therapy areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal & metabolism, and respiratory. Nexium has lost compound patent protection in the majority of global markets. Vimovo is patent protected in most European markets until 2025. Under the deal, AstraZeneca will continue to commercialize Nexium in all markets outside Europe, where the company retains the rights. On completion of the agreements, AstraZeneca will not retain any ownership rights to Vimovo globally, or to Nexium in Europe. Nexium sales in Europe in the first half of 2018 were $121 million; Vimovo global sales excluding the US and Japan in the same period were $37 million. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply Nexium under a long-term supply agreement.

Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor, helps to reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach in patients with gastrointestinal reflux conditions and ulcers. It has a number of indications, including the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers induced by pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Vimovo is a modified-release fixed-dose combination tablet of naproxen, a pain-relieving NSAID and esomeprazole, the active ingredient in Nexium, for treating various inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers and/or duodenal ulcers.

Source: AstraZeneca and Grünenthal