AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has inked a deal to sell the rights to its schizophrenia and bipolar disorder treatment Seroquel, the blue-chip pharmco has said. The move comes as the company continues to focus on several core therapy areas expected to drive growth.
AstraZeneca’s share price has advanced in London in today’s session, having added 0.58 percent to 5,235.00p as of 09:44 BST. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.12 percent higher at 7,576.58 points. The pharmco’s shares have added more than 13 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with a near four-percent rise in the Footsie.
AstraZeneca offloads Seroquel
AstraZeneca announced in a statement yesterday that it had entered into an agreement with Luye Pharma for the sale and licence of the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, China and other international markets, including Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Argentina, Malaysia and South Africa. Luye Pharma will pay $538 million in consideration including $260 million immediately following closure of the transaction. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.
The Anglo-Swedish pharma group explained that the sale was part of its strategy to focus on its three main therapy areas of Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory. Seroquel, used primarily to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, meanwhile has lost its compound patent protection globally, while the Seroquel XR formulation patents have expired in the vast majority of markets.
Analysts on blue-chip pharmco
Credit Suisse reiterated its ‘outperform’ rating on the shares last week, while JPMorgan remains ‘overweight’ on the blue-chip pharmco. According to MarketBeat, AstraZeneca currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 5,274.68p.