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LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca (AZN.L) has sold the European rights to its aging beta-blocker heart drug Seloken to Italy's Recordati (RECI.MI) for $300 million, as part of a continuing drive by the British drugmaker to spin off non-core assets.
AstraZeneca is using funds from such disposals to help it through an earnings trough caused by patent expiries on former blockbuster medicines, while it waits for a new wave of drugs, particularly for cancer, to deliver fresh growth.
It has described 2017 as a "pivotal" year and AstraZeneca's head of portfolio strategy Mark Mallon said the deal "allows us to concentrate our resources on bringing multiple new medicines to patients".
The two companies said on Monday that AstraZeneca would also get tiered royalties from Recordati, initially at a double-digit percentage rate, for European sales of Seloken and related products. These sales totaled $110 million in 2016.
AstraZeneca, which retains rights to the beta-blocker outside Europe, will continue to manufacture and ship product to Recordati under a supply agreement.
The Italian group said acquiring the treatment for high blood pressure, angina and heart failure would allow it to expand into new markets. The acquisition will be funded by existing funds and available credit lines, it added.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens