Sandoz, a Novartis division, has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma to acquire the global product rights for the latter’s systemic antifungal agent Mycamine (micafungin sodium).

The consideration for the acquisition will be in the $62.5m-$75m range, based on the date of the closing of the deal and potential sales-based milestone payments.

Mycamine, which is sold as Funguard in Japan, is an echinocandin, one of the three major classes of antifungal agents. It is indicated for treating invasive candidiasis and espophageal candidiasis.

The antifungal agent is also indicated for the prevention of candida and aspergillus infections in patients who go through hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

The drug is claimed to have a patient base of over two million around the world.

Astellas Pharma stated: “The agreement is a part of Astellas’ ongoing efforts to optimise the allocation of management resources to accommodate the rapidly changing business environment and achieve sustainable growth.”

The addition of Mycamine is expected to considerably strengthen Sandoz’s hospital offering, anti-infective portfolio, and a global programme to fight antimicrobial resistance through the targeted use of suitable therapies.

According to Novartis, the antifungal agent is a preferred treatment in hospitals and intensive care units globally. Additionally, it is used as a prophylactic in haematological and oncology patients, and in organ transplants.

Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor said: “Acquiring this leading and respected global brand will significantly reinforce the Sandoz global hospital offering, as well as complement our existing global leadership position in generic antibiotics.”

“This will also be an important addition to our growing portfolio of anti-infective therapies aimed at combatting the spread of antimicrobial resistance, by providing the right drug to the right patient at the right time.”

The deal, which is subject to standard conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals, is anticipated to close in the first half of this year.