The British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZ) has decided to sublicense its global rights to Movantik (naloxegol) to RedHill Biopharma. However, AZ has said that it will continue to manufacture and supply the chronic non-cancer pain drug to RedHill during a transition period. In 2015, AZ entered into a co-commercialization agreement with Daiichi Sankyo Inc. for Movantik in the USA, which will be transferred to RedHill.
Under the terms of the agreement, RedHill has agreed to make and upfront payment of US $52.5 million to AstraZeneca on closing. A further non-contingent payment of $15 million is due in 2021. The divestment has been anticipated to complete in the first quarter of 2020 and it is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.
Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, said:
“Divestment supports our strategy to realise value from medicines in our portfolio that are mature or outside our current scope to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas. Movantik is an important established medicine and the divestment to RedHill will ensure its continued availability for patients.”
Movantik was initially licensed from Nektar Therapeutics in 2009. It has been developed with Nektar’s oral small-molecule polymer conjugate technology.
The oral once-a-day treatment belongs to a class of drugs that are called peripherally-acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists. These drugs are used to decrease the constipating effects of opioids. The drug’s safety and effectiveness were confirmed in two trials of 1,352 participants. These participants had taken opioids for at least four weeks for non-cancer related pain and had opioid-induced constipation.