AstraZeneca has sold Tillotts Pharma rights to gastroenterology drug Entocort for $215 million, under a bid to hone its focus on core areas such as cancer and diabetes.

Tillotts Pharma, a Swiss-based subsidiary of Japanese group Zeria, is picking up global rights (excluding the US) to the drug, which is marketed for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.  

Entocort (budesonide) is currently pulling in sales outside the US of around $53 million, and a filing in Japan is expected soon, which could further boost sales if successful.

AZ’ Luke Miels, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, said the agreement “reinforces our strategic focus on selected therapy areas and puts this important medicine in the hands of a company with specialist expertise in gastroenterology”. 

The deal, which doesn’t include the transfer of any employees or facilities, is on track for completion earlier this year, and won’t affect the drug giant’s financial guidance for 2015.