Ropes & Gray Represents Allergan in Divestiture of Immunology Medicine to AstraZeneca
Ropes & Gray represented Allergan in a transaction involving the divestiture of global rights for a clinical stage inflammatory disease gastrointestinal drug to British drug maker AstraZeneca. The divestiture is being made in part to satisfy the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s and the European Commission’s requirements in connection with U.S. biopharmaceutical company AbbVie’s $63 billion merger with Allergan. The divestiture transaction was announced on Jan. 27 and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.
Pursuant to the transaction, AstraZeneca will recover the global rights to a monoclonal antibody product that inhibits interleukin 23, which AstraZeneca had originally licensed to Allergan in a 2016 transaction. The product, called brazikumab, is currently in Phase 2b/3 development for the treatment of Crohn’s disease and in Phase 2b development for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Allergan has agreed to fund AstraZeneca’s development costs for brazikumab up to an agreed amount until completion of development in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, including the development of a companion diagnostic.
The Ropes & Gray team was led by strategic transactions partner Marc Rubenstein and associate Julienne Hearn and included litigation & enforcement partners Mark Popofsky (Washington, D.C.) and Richard Batchelder (Boston).