AstraZeneca offloads headache drug Zomig to Grünenthal to raise $300M cash

AstraZeneca had some positive news to announce at ASCO about its PARP Lynparza for treating breast cancer, but all in all, the U.K. company continues to struggle and so will sell yet another asset to raise cash while CEO Pascal Soriot works to right the ship. The U.K drugmaker today said that it has a deal to sell Germany’s Grünenthal rights to its migraine treatment Zomig for all markets outside of Japan. AZ will get $200 million when the deal is done and up to $102 million in additional payments if targets are hit. The arrangement includes rights to the drug in the U.S. where it has been licensed to Impax Pharmaceuticals since 2012. Impax will continue to market Zomig in the U.S. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and supply it, during the transition.  Grünenthal’s experience with pain drugs puts them in a good position to serve patients that rely on the headache med, Mark Mallon, executive VP of global product & portfolio Strategy at AstraZeneca said in a statement.

Pfizer’s $14B Medivation deal’s now a cautionary M&A tale, thanks to ASCO

The annual ASCO meeting often throws new light on old drugs—and old dealmaking. This year, it’s last summer’s most ballyhooed M&A deal—Pfizer’s $14 billion buyout of Medivation—that doesn’t look so impressive anymore, thanks to data rolled out over the weekend. Big pharma and big biotech bidders swarmed on Medivation back then, partly because of its pipeline med talazoparib, a PARP inhibitor then-Medivation chief David Hung touted as a best-in-class med. The other big draw was Xtandi, the blockbuster-to-be prostate cancer drug, and its present-day cash flow. The two together added up to offers from Pfizer and Sanofi, plus a range of other bidders rumored to include Amgen and Gilead Sciences. Thing is, Xtandi competes head-to-head with Johnson & Johnson’s Zytiga, and while Xtandi put up disappointing data in a study that might have helped grow sales, Zytiga racked up a couple of study wins at ASCO that analysts now say could help the J&J med zoom ahead on the indication front.

Takeda starts work on €40M plant to produce multiple myeloma drug Ninlaro

Japanese drugmaker Takeda has started work on a new plant to produce its oral multiple myeloma drug Ninlaro, a first-to-market active proteasome inhibitor, and expects the facility will be ready to ship the potential blockbuster next year or in early 2019.  The company says construction begins this month on the €40 million ($42.8 million) facility at its Grange Castle site in Dublin to manufacture Ninlaro. The plant is slated to be completed in the second quarter of 2018 and be operational to ship secondary packaged product in the second half of fiscal 2018, which ends on March 31, 2018. Ireland development authorities boasted in December that Takeda was expanding in the country, but the drugmaker is now offering up more details on the project. It said the 5,672-square-meter (61,053-square-foot) production facility will house the API, formulation, primary and secondary packaging and quality-control processes. The company will add 40 jobs at the site as a result of the expansion.

Germany’s doc payment transparency effort relies on honesty

In the U.S., the Open Payments database lays out pharma’s payments to doctors for all to see. In Germany, where disclosure isn’t mandated as it is in the U.S., a nonprofit is trying transparency based on the honor system. German doctors will be able to voluntarily disclose contributions from pharma in a database compiled by the nonprofit journalism organization Correctiv, according to Germany’s DW. About 71,000 doctors in the country received €575 million in cash or in-kind contributions from the drug industry last year, a Correctiv investigation found in December. That’s far less than the $7.52 billion that drug and device makers funneled to doctors and healthcare providers in the U.S. in 2015, the most recent data available, but slightly more than the £345 million that changed hands in the U.K. Making those payments public at the doctor-by-doctor level is important, advocates say, because studies show financial relationships between drug makers and doctors can affect physicians’ prescribing habits.