(Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc said on Wednesday it plans to sell the European and Russian rights for a schizophrenia drug to German firm Cheplapharm Arzneimittel for an upfront payment of $178 million, as the British drugmaker looks to offload older drugs.
The treatment, Seroquel, and another version, Seroquel XR, have lost patent protections in Europe and Russia, AstraZeneca said. The drug variants are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
AstraZeneca halted years of falling sales in 2018, marking a turn around after crumbling sales due to patent losses on older drugs, and has been focusing on newer medicines including those for cancer, diabetes and heart conditions.
“It (the Cheplapharm agreement) forms part of our strategy of reducing the portfolio of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas,” Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of the company’s biopharmaceuticals unit said.
Pre-tax profits from Seroquel and Seroquel XR in…
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