AstraZeneca has completed the sale of rights to Crestor (rosuvastatin) and certain other medicines in Europe to Grünenthal, a German pharmaceutical company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Grünenthal receives the rights to Crestor and related medicines in more than 30 European countries, excluding the UK and Spain.

The UK-based drugmaker has received an upfront payment of $320m and is also eligible to receive up to $30m in future milestone payments.

Crestor is a statin, a lipid-lowering medicine intended to treat blood lipid disorders and prevent cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes.

The drug works to modify lipid in two ways, either by blocking an enzyme in the liver, to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol or by increasing the uptake and breakdown of existing cholesterol in the blood by the liver.

Crestor has been approved as a lipid-regulating medicine in more than 100 countries.

In 2019, the drug has generated sales of $136m and a profit before tax of $98m in the countries covered under the current agreement.

In a separate development, AstraZeneca has partnered with IDT Biologika to increase the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe and secure long-term supply capacity.

The companies are exploring options to advance the output of finished Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the second quarter of 2021, to address the vaccination needs in Europe.

As part of the partnership, AstraZeneca and IDT Biologika intend to expand the capacity at IDT Biologika’s production site in Dessau, Germany.

The companies are expected to expand the capacity by building up to five 2,000 litre bioreactors capable of making tens of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccine per month.

The partnership is also anticipated to enhance Europe’s vaccine manufacturing capability with a large additional drug substance capacity, planned for the future.

Furthermore, the investment has the potential to support the manufacture of other vaccines with a similar manufacturing process, expanding Europe’s domestic vaccine production capability.

AstraZeneca chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said: “This agreement will greatly help Europe build an independent vaccine manufacturing capability that will allow it to meet the challenges of the current pandemic and create strategic supply capacity for the future.

“We are delighted to be investing with our partner IDT Biologika in the future health, security and wellbeing of millions of citizens across Europe. I would like to thank the German Federal Government and the European Commission for their support in our efforts.”