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AstraZeneca resumes asset sale in $270M COPD deal with familiar buyer Covis

Over the years, AstraZeneca has consistently adjusted its portfolio, targeting aging products. The company has now found a new home for two respiratory meds with an old buyer.

AstraZeneca will sell global rights to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease inhalers Tudorza and Duaklir to Covis Pharma for $270 million, the British pharma said Monday. The company expects to close the deal soon, by year-end.

Both drugs use the Pressair device for delivery, while AZ has lately shifted its focus to its new Aerosphere technology behind Bevespi and Breztri.

Tudorza, known as Eklira outside the U.S., contains long-acting muscarinic antagonist aclidinium bromide. Duaklir is a combo of Tudorza and long-acting beta agonist formoterol. The two meds turned in $143 million sales in last year.

Covis is a familiar face for AZ. The Swiss company in 2018 bought the remaining ex-U.S. rights it didn’t already own to three respiratory products—asthma treatment Alvesco and rhinitis remedies Omnaris and Zetonna—for $350 million.

The latest Covis deal is one of many in AZ’s asset clearance routine. In February, AZ signed away rights to popular cholesterol drug Crestor in certain European countries in a $350 million deal with Germany’s Grünenthal. It also recently sold rights to heart failure and blood pressure drugs Atacand to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel for up to $400 million.

All those divestitures of mature products came as AZ focuses on newer medicines. Last summer, In the respiratory department, AZ got its hard-fought FDA approval for three-in-one inhaler Breztri Aerosphere for the maintenance treatment of COPD, about three years behind GlaxoSmithKline’s triplet therapy Trelegy Ellipta.

AZ recently branched out its immunology franchise beyond respiratory disease with the $39 billion acquisition of Alexion Pharma. The deal gave it a commercial portfolio of rare disease drugs including the blockbuster franchise of Soliris and Ultomiris plus immunology expertise in complement biology, which AZ expects could be applied in multiple disease areas.