Pfizer said today it will acquire rights to AstraZeneca’s late-stage, small-molecule antibiotics business, primarily outside the U.S., for up to $1.575 billion.
The agreement includes development and commercialization rights to Zavicefta™ (ceftazidime/avibactam). On June 28, the combination antibiotic won European Commission approval as a treatment for complicated urinary tract infections, complicated intra-abdominal infections, hospital acquired pneumonia/ventilator-associated pneumonia, and aerobic Gram-negative infections in adults with limited treatment options.
Also covered by the deal are development and commercialization rights to:
- Merrem™/Meronem™ (meropenem), an antibacterial treatment for serious infections in hospitalized patients. AstraZeneca holds global rights to commercialize Merrem outside Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, where rights are held by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, which created the treatment. Sumitomo Dainippon has an option to commercialize Merrem in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.
- Zinforo™ (ceftaroline fosamil), an intravenous antibiotic for adults with complicated skin and soft tissue infections or community-acquired pneumonia. AstraZeneca holds global rights to commercialize Zinforo, except in North America where rights are held by Allergan, and in Japan, where rights are held by Takeda Pharmaceutical.
- The Phase II candidate aztreonam-avibactam (ATM-AVI), an injectable combination of aztreonam (ATM) and the β-lactamase inhibitor Avibactam (AVI, NXL104).
- The Phase III-ready CXL, an injectable bactericidal β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combination of Zinforo and Avibactam.
AstraZeneca holds commercialization rights to ATM-AVI and CXL everywhere but North America. There, such rights are held by Allergan—which Pfizer last year planned to acquire for $160 billion before ending its attempted purchase after the Obama administration issued new rules designed to discourage the deal and other tax-slicing “inversion” mergers.
The planned purchase is Pfizer’s second billion-dollar-plus acquisition this week aimed at expanding its pipeline in key therapeutic areas of focus. On Monday, Pfizer said it will acquire cancer drug developer Medivation for $14 billion to build its oncology offerings.
“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 antifungal medicines,” John Young, group president, Pfizer Essential Health, said in a statement.
The Pfizer deal also marks AstraZeneca’s latest effort to shed noncore assets and focus on three therapeutic areas—cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; and respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmunity diseases. AstraZeneca has carried out a series of such deals this year, including selling licensing rights to Leo Pharma for two skin-disease drug candidates for up to $1 billion-plus in July.
Pfizer agreed to pay AstraZeneca $550 million upfront, $175 million in January 2019, up to $250 million tied to achieving commercial, manufacturing, and regulatory milestones, and up to $600 million tied to sales of the antibiotics covered by the deal. AstraZeneca could also receive tiered double-digit royalties on sales of Zavicefta and ATM-AVI.
Pfizer said the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to customary closing conditions that include antitrust clearance.