Abbvie’s $63bn takeout of Allergan looks to have given Astrazeneca a retrospective $250m windfall. Last year the US group determined to divest the anti-IL-23 MAb brazikumab, which it was to acquire along with Allergan, on account of already owning the similarly-acting Skyrizi. Today a deal was hammered out, with brazikumab reverting to Astrazeneca, the company from which Allergan had licensed it for $250m up front three years ago. The development timeline is convoluted, the asset having been originated by Amgen before being licensed to Astra in 2012 along with four other MAbs, and Amgen retains a royalty interest, meaning that it will have been entitled to a share of the $250m Allergan had handed Astra in 2016. The main point, however, is that Astra does not appear to have had to pay anything to regain brazikumab; what is more, Allergan/Abbvie has agreed to fund part of the cost of developing the project for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Interestingly, Abbvie never disclosed whether the brazikumab divestment had been prompted by regulators, though at a time of unusually stringent scrutiny even the hint of an antitrust issue is best avoided.
|The brazikumab timeline|
|Pre-2012||Brazikumab (then known as AMG 139) is originated by Amgen.|
|Apr 2012||Astrazeneca pays Amgen $50m up front under a joint development deal covering brazikumab (then coded MEDI2070), AMG 157, AMG 181, AMG 557 & brodalumab.|
|Apr 2015||Amgen suspends Astrazeneca co-development deal, retaining an option to resume participation later.|
|Nov 2016||Astrazeneca licenses brazikumab to Allergan for $250m up front.|
|Q2 2019||After buying Allergan for $63bn Abbvie determines to divest brazikumab and Zenpep, without disclosing whether this has been prompted by antitrust regulators.|
|Jan 2020||Astrazeneca reacquires brazikumab and a share of future development costs from Allergan/Abbvie for no apparent up-front consideration.|