AstraZeneca is shedding commercial rights to Arimidex (anastrozole) and Casodex (bicalutamide) in a number of European, African and other countries to Juvisé Pharmaceuticals.

Juvisé has paid upfront $181 million to AZ and may also make future sales-contingent payments of up to $17 million for access to the drugs.

The medicines, used primarily to treat breast and prostate cancers, have already lost their patent protection in these countries.

Last year, Arimidex generated sales of $37 million in the countries covered by the deal, while Casodex pulled in $24 million.

“Arimidex and Casodex are important established medicines and we are pleased that Juvisé Pharmaceuticals will now take on the work of making sure patients continue to have access to them,” said Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, Oncology Business Unit, at AZ.

He went on to note that the agreement falls under the company’s broader strategy of reducing its portfolio of mature medicines to redirect resources towards advancing its pipeline of new medicines.

The move follows divestment of US rights to Arimidex and Casodex back in 2017.

US nod for Enhertu

Meanwhile, AZ and Daiichi Sankyo announced US approval of Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki) for adults with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received two or more prior anti-HER2 based regimens in the metastatic setting.

This indication is approved under Accelerated Approval based on tumour response rate and duration of response, and so continued approval of the HER2-directed antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.

“Enhertu has shown impressive results in women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, with the majority of women benefiting from treatment and the median duration of the response exceeding 14 months,” said José Baselga, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, at AZ.

“With this first approval, we are proud to bring Enhertu to patients with high unmet need and we look forward to further exploring its potential in additional settings.”