AstraZeneca has sold global rights (ex Japan) for its migraine drug Zomig to Grünenthal, as it continues to shed products outside of its area of strategic focus.
Upon completion of the deal, expected in the second quarter of this year, Grünenthal will pay AZ $200 million followed by up to $102 million in future milestone payments. AZ will continue to manufacture and supply the medicine during a transition period.
“Grünenthal is an established partner with expertise in the treatment of pain. It is well placed to ensure patients continue to benefit from Zomig, and to extend the commercial potential of the medicine through its dedicated salesforce,” noted Mark Mallon, executive vice president, global product & portfolio strategy at AZ.
More than 75 million people around the globe suffer from migraine attacks that can lead to sensitivity to light or sound, to nausea or even vomiting.
Zomig (zolmitriptan) is indicated for the acute treatment of migraine, and for the acute treatment of cluster headache in the EU. The drug is available in three formulations - an oral tablet, orally dispersible tablet and nasal spray - and pulled in global (ex Japan) annual revenues in 2016 of $96 million.
Grünenthal said the acquisition of the Zomig franchise complements its existing pain portfolio.
“Migraine has been one of the very few main pain indications we haven’t yet been able to offer a solution for. This is an important step to reach our ambition to become a €2 billion company by 2022. It will also support our efforts to bring four to five innovative products to market in the same timeframe,” noted the firm’s chief executive Gabriel Baertschi.
Last month AZ sold EU rights to its metoprolol-containing cardiovascular drugs to Italian drugmaker Recordati for $300 million. This followed the sale of certain rights to its nasal inflammation spray Rhincort Aqua to Johnson & Johnson group Cilag GmbH International for $330 million, its experimental respiratory drug AZD7986 to US biotech Insmed for around $150 million, and generic Toprol-XL (metoprolol succinate) in the US to Aralex for $175 million in the second half of last year, under plans to streamline its focus.