AstraZeneca has sold ProStrakan European rights to its opioid-induced constipation (OIC) drug Moventig for an upfront fee of $70 million plus other payments and royalties.

Under the deal, ProStrakan gains rights to Moventig (naloxegol) in the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, where it is the first once-daily, oral peripherally-acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (PAMORA) approved for the treatment of OIC in adult patients who have had an inadequate response to laxatives.

The drug is already launched in the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Nordics, Austria and Switzerland. ProStrakan will make additional payments contingent on market access decisions in certain European markets, as well as double-digit royalties on sales as well as sales milestones.

“This agreement is in line with our strategy to focus our resources within our three main therapy areas while unlocking value from the important medicines in our portfolio,” noted Luke Miels, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy lead at AZ. “ProStrakan’s significant expertise in the area of pain medication will ensure patients across Europe benefit from a first-in-class treatment”.

On the other side of the fence, Tom Stratford, ProStrakan’s chief executive, said the drug is “an excellent fit” for its oncology and pain-focused sales teams across Europe, and will complement its existing breakthrough fentanyl-based cancer pain products, Abstral and PecFent.

AZ itself licensed the drug from Nektar Therapeutics in September 2009.