AstraZeneca has agreed to divest the commercial rights to its antipsychotic drugs Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the US and Canada to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel, a Germany-based pharmaceutical company, for up to $41m.

AstraZeneca said that its Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate immediate release) and Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate extended release), which are primarily used in treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have lost their compound patent protection in the US and Canada.

AstraZeneca biopharmaceuticals business unit executive vice president Ruud Dobber said: “This divestment supports our strategy of reducing the number of mature medicines to enable reinvestment in our main therapy areas.

“Cheplapharm recently agreed to acquire the commercial rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in most European markets and Russia from AstraZeneca and this new agreement will help ensure continued patient access to this important established medicine in North America as well.”

Seroquel and Seroquel XR are unique anti-psychotic medicines

Under the terms of the transaction, AstraZeneca will receive $35m in an upfront payment along with the future sales-contingent payments of up to $6m.

The transaction has no closing conditions and the company will continue the manufacture and supply of Seroquel and Seroquel XR to Cheplapharm during a transition period.

AstraZeneca claims that its Seroquel drugs have generated $36m sales in the US and Canada markets, while Seroquel XR generated $79m in 2018.

Its Seroquel and Seroquel XR are unique anti-psychotic medicines with antidepressant properties, and are indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seroquel XR has also been approved in some markets for treating the major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder.

The company has previously sold the rights to Seroquel and Seroquel XR in the UK, Japan and other international markets, and has also agreed to divest the rights to the same drugs in Europe (excluding the UK) and Russia to Cheplapharm earlier in 2019.

The sale of Europe and Russia rights is expected to be closed in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.