AstraZeneca to sell rights to two heart drugs to China Medical for $500 mn

British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc yesterday struck a deal to sell the rights to two ageing heart drugs to China Medical System Holdings Ltd (CMS) for $500 million, as part of its ongoing plan of divesting non-core assets.

Under the terms of the deal, CMS will pay AstraZeneca $310 million for the license to sell in China calcium channel blocker drug Plendil.

AstraZeneca said that it will maintain a significant, long term interest in the future value derived from Plendil sales in China and will manufacture and supply the drug to CMS.

AstraZeneca will retain the global rights to Plendil outside China. The transaction does not include the transfer of any AstraZeneca employees or facilities.

Plendil was first approved in China in 1995 for the treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure and generated sales of $189 million in 2015.

Plendil works by blocking the action of calcium on blood vessels and the heart, allowing the blood vessels to relax and the heart to beat more slowly and with less force. The sustained release formulation of Plendil is administered once daily and can control blood pressure throughout the day with proven efficacy and a low side effect rate.

Plendil was first approved by the FDA in 1991 and later in Europe, China and other markets.

The London-based company will also sell the global rights to Imdur outside the US to Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding Co – a unit of CMS.

Imdur is a mature medicine for the prevention of angina in patients with heart disease. Its global sales outside the US were $57 million in 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will receive $190 million for the rights to Imdur in all markets outside the US.

AstraZeneca said the deals would not impact its financial guidance for 2016.