AstraZeneca scores $500M for two cardio drugs licensed to China Medical

Beijing-based China Medical System Holdings will pay U.K. multinational AstraZeneca ($AZN) $500 million to in-license rights for cardio therapies Plendil and Imdur. 

The deal for hypertension therapy Plendil (felodipine) includes a $310 million upfront payment for China rights, and for angina drug Imdur (isosorbide mononitrate) the figure is $190 million for global rights, excluding the U.S., according to a press release from AstraZeneca.

The Chinese firm is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and handles a variety of drug products as a services company that claims on its website to have the largest third-party network in China for hospital coverage, therapies and sales force.

China has been a key market for AstraZeneca, which also faces a patent cliff for its cardio product, Crestor (rosuvastatin), in several markets.

Plendil has been approved in China since 1995 to treat hypertension with sales in 2015 of $189 million, AstraZeneca said, adding 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 medicine to CMS."

The company will keep the global rights for Plendil outside of China.

For Imdur, AstraZeneca will work with China Medical System's associated firm, Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding, on global sales outside the U.S. in a deal set to close in the second quarter of 2016. The drug had global sales outside of the U.S. of $57 million in 2015, AstraZeneca said.

Tibet-based Rhodiola also makes traditional Chinese medicines and is 26.6%-owned by China Medical System with plans afoot for a rights issue of around $230 million, which would take the associated company's stake to nearly 36%.

- here's the release
- and a take from the FT