Daiichi Sankyo inks deal to market AstraZeneca's FluMist in Japan

Just in time for flu season, AstraZeneca ($AZN) granted Daiichi Sankyo an exclusive license to market its FluMist Quadrivalent in Japan. The live attenuated vaccine, delivered nasally, went through Phase III trials in Japanese children, and a regulatory submission is being prepared for Japan.

Daiichi will pay AstraZeneca an undisclosed upfront fee as well as subsequent development milestones and sales-related payments after it launches. Daiichi will take full responsibility for future development and commercialization of FluMist in Japan.

"We're pleased to enter into this agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, whose specific expertise in developing and commercializing innovative vaccines will help ensure we bring FluMist Quadrivalent to as many children as possible in Japan," said Marc Dunoyer, AstraZeneca's CFO and senior executive team member responsible for Japan, in a release.

FluMist, originally approved in the U.S. in 2003, is the only nasally delivered quadrivalent flu vaccine. More than 100 million doses of FluMist have been distributed worldwide. The quadrivalent version of the vaccine got the FDA nod in 2012 and won European approval in 2013. In 2014, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended FluMist over the injected flu vaccine for children aged 2 to 8 in a unanimous vote. In Q4 2013, AstraZeneca's flu vaccine sales jumped 56%; they jumped again 20% to $295 million in 2014 from $245 million in 2013.

This isn't the first time AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo have teamed up. In 2011, they collaborated to market the heartburn med Nexium in Japan and Movantik in the U.S.

- here's the release