AstraZeneca is selling rights to its global anaesthetics portfolio outside the US to Aspen Global Inc (AGI) in a deal that could be worth $770 million.

AGI will pay AZ an upfront fee of $520 million for the rights to seven established medicines - Diprivan (general anaesthesia), EMLA (topical anaesthetic) and the local anaesthetics Xylocaine/Xylocard/Xyloproct, Marcaine, Naropin, Carbocaine and Citanest - as well as up to $250 million in a sales-related payments and royalties.

Under the deal, AZ will manufacture and supply the products on a cost plus basis to AGI for an initial period of 10 years, after which Aspen takes over the reigns for all activities relating to the sale of the portfolio in all relevant markets.

Pascal Soriot, the drug giant's chief executive, said the move "will extend the reach of our established portfolio to a greater number of patients through AGI's extensive commercial network," and supports the firm's "strategic focus on the new medicines in three main therapy areas".

The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions and is anticipated to complete in the third quarter of this year.