AstraZeneca Flips Rare Cancer Drug to Sanofi
AstraZeneca is selling its rare cancer drug Caprelsa to Sanofi for up to $300 million, as the company continues to raise cash by divesting assets.
The sale, announced last week, underscores AZ’s desire to leave the rare disease market and focus on more common forms of cancer and diabetes as it strives to counter falling sales of older drugs.
Under the agreement, Sanofi’s rare disease unit Genzyme will pay AZ $165 million upfront for the right to develop and sell Caprelsa (vadetanib), as well as $135 million in sales and development milestone payments.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.
Caprelsa received orphan drug designation from the FDA in 2005 for the treatment of aggressive and symptomatic medullary thyroid carcinoma and was approved in 2011. It is available in 28 countries and had global sales of $48 million last year, according to AZ.
In addition to the approved indication, Caprelsa is in Phase 3 development for differentiated thyroid cancer, with the study expected to finish in the second half of this year, AZ spokeswoman Abby Bozarth said. Several other studies in other disease areas also are ongoing, she adds.
Genzyme’s CEO David Meeker said the drug is a strong addition to the company’s rare endocrinology portfolio and reinforces the company’s commitment to addressing unmet needs in the thyroid community.
This is the second such deal this month for the British drugmaker, which earlier sold global rights, excluding the U.S., to its Entocort gastroenterology drug to Tillotts Pharma for $215 million. — Kellen Owings