Company News: AstraZeneca and Targacept

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AstraZeneca has tapped former CNS drug-development partner Targacept again, this time agreeing to pay up to $1.2 billion to in-license phase-II depression drug TC-5214. As part of the deal, AZ's largest of the year in terms of upfront payments, it will pay Targacept an upfront of $200 million upon effectiveness and up to an additional $540 million if certain development, regulatory and first-commercial sale milestones are achieved. Up to $500 million more is possible, pending sales-related milestones, along with stepped double-digit royalties on global net sales. Targacept also has retained an option for co-promotion of TC-5214 to a limited target US physician audience. The two will split development costs 80-20, with AZ assuming the larger share. TC-5214 recently completed a phase IIb trial for adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. The companies have previous collaborations related to products treating ADHD, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

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