AstraZeneca has sold the US and Canadian rights to its Zoladex cancer treatment to TerSera Therapeutics, in a deal worth more than $320m (£257m), as it looks to focus its efforts on developing new medicines.

Private equity-backed TerSera will pay an initial fee of $250m upon completion of the deal, $70m after certain sales-related milestones are reached, plus further quarterly payments of a “mid-teen per cent” of product sales.

AstraZeneca will also continue to manufacture and supply the treatment, which is used to treat prostate cancer, breast cancer and some gynaecological disorders, and has been approved for use in the US and Canada since 1989.

The company has been increasingly focusing on research and development in new areas such as immuno-oncology in an effort to offset expiring patents on some older drugs. Shares in the Anglo-Swedish group jumped last week after it reported positive results from one new treatment tipped for blocbuster status.

Mark Mallon, AstraZeneca executive vice president for global product and portfolio strategy, said:

This agreement allows us to retain a significant share of the value of Zoladex in the US and Canada, while concentrating our resources on our innovative new oncology medicines. It also ensures patients have continued access to Zoladex, with TerSera’s dedicated focus helping to expand the potential of this important medicine.

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