Pfizer to buy AstraZeneca's small molecule antibiotics business for up to $1.5 billion

The small-molecule antibiotics business will be a strong fit with Pfizer’s existing portfolio

Pfizer is to buy AstraZeneca's late-stage small molecule antibiotics business, primarily outside the US.

The deal could be valued at more than $1.5 billion.

The transaction includes the rights to Zavicefta (ceftazidime-avibactam), which was approved in the EU on 28 June for complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI), complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), hospital acquired pneumonia/ventilator associated pneumonia (HAP/VAP) and treatment of aerobic gram negative infections in adult patients with limited treatment options.

The US drugmaker also gains the rights to Merrem/Meronem (meropenem) and Zinforo (ceftaroline fosamil), and the clinical development assets aztreonam-avibactam (ATM-AVI) and CXL.

Merrem and Zinforo are available in more than 100 countries and generated sales in 2015 of $250m, AstaZeneca said.

We are committed to looking for ways to enhance our portfolio around the world

Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will make an upfront payment of $550m to AstraZeneca upon completion, and a further $175m in January 2019 for the commercialisation and development rights to the late-stage antibiotics business in all markets where AstraZeneca holds the rights.

In addition, AstraZeneca will receive up to $250m in milestone payments, up to $600m in sales-related payments, as well as tiered royalties on sales of Zavicefta and ATM-AVI in certain markets.

'As we continue to reshape our Essential Health portfolio, we are focusing on areas that further address global public health needs and that complement our core capabilities and experience in therapeutic areas, including anti-infectives,' said John Young, Group President, Pfizer Essential Health.

'We are committed to looking for ways to enhance our portfolio around the world where we offer patients and healthcare professionals access to more than 60 anti-infective and anti-fungal medicines.'

Luke Miels: 'This agreement reinforces our strategic focus to invest in our three main therapy areas where we can make the greatest difference to patients' lives'

Luke Miels, Executive Vice President for Europe and Head of the Antibiotics Business Unit at AstraZeneca, said: 'This agreement reinforces our strategic focus to invest in our three main therapy areas where we can make the greatest difference to patients’ lives.

'We’re pleased that our strong science in antibiotics will continue to serve a critical public health need through Pfizer’s dedicated focus on infectious diseases, ensuring these important medicines reach greater numbers of patients around the world.'

MedImmune’s portfolio of biologics, including FluMist/Fluenz and Synagis, and AstraZeneca’s stake in Entasis Therapeutics, spun-off from AstraZeneca in 2015 and now operating as a stand-alone company focused on the development of innovative small-molecule antibiotics, are not included in this deal.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.

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