Aralez agrees to acquire rights to popular blood thinner from AstraZeneca

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For the second time in less than a month, Aralez Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal with a major pharmaceuticals company for a cardiovascular medication.

On Oct. 4, Aralez agreed to acquire the U.S. rights to metoprolol succinate (Toprol-XL) from AstraZeneca. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Metoprolol succinate, which the FDA first approved in 1992, is a beta-blocker indicated for treating patients with hypertension, angina pectoris and stable, symptomatic heart failure. Patients take the extended-release tablet once daily to lower blood pressure.

Aralez said it would pay AstraZeneca $175 million upfront to acquire the rights to metoprolol succinate in the U.S. and the authorized generic medication, marketed by Par Pharmaceuticals.

Aralez also agreed to pay AstraZeneca royalties in the mid-teen percentages and up to $48 million in contingent milestone payments.

As part of the transaction, AstraZeneca will continue to distribute metoprolol succinate for up to nine months and will continue to manufacture and supply the branded and authorized generic medications to Aralez for at least 10 years.

AstraZeneca recorded $89 million in revenue for the branded and authorized generic versions of metoprolol succinate in 2015 and $53 million in revenue for the first six months of 2016. Aralez said the deal would be immediately accretive to adjusted earnings and would help increase the company’s profitability next year.

On Sept. 7, Aralez acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights from Merck to sell vorapaxar (Zontivity), a once-daily, oral medication indicated to reduce thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients with a history of MI or peripheral arterial disease.

In that deal, Aralez agreed to pay $25 million upfront as well as graduated royalties and other payments if sales reach certain, undisclosed milestones.

Aralez also received positive news on Sept. 15 when the FDA approved the company’s fixed-dose combination of aspirin and omeprazole (Yosprala). The oral medication is indicated for patients who require aspirin for secondary prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events and who are at risk of developing aspirin-associated gastric ulcers.

Aralez may not be done making transactions. The company said that Deerfield Management agreed to provide Aralez up to $250 million “to fund future mutually agreeable acquisitions,” according to an Aralez news release. Deerfield and Aralez previously agreed on a senior secured debt facility, which Aralez used to fund the purchase of metoprolol succinate.