Swedish firm in Chinese HIV deal

Swedish biotech company Medivir has licensed development of its HIV drug MIV-160 to Chinese company Guangdong Lantai Viewland Pharmaceuticals.

Under the deal, the Chinese company will take charge of development of the drug and commercialization in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Medivir will be paid in the form of shares in the Chinese company, and will also receive royalty payments on sales.

The drug, a non-nucleaoside HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitor, is in late pre-clinical development. Medivir says the drug can provide a chemical barrier to prevent HIV transmission, as well as being used to treat the condition.

Zho Hai-Feng, chairman of Guangdong Lantai Viewland Pharmaceuticals, said the deal with Medivir was a milestone for HIV prevention and treatment in China.

“I believe that the development of an effective prevention method is a vital element to keep this virus in check, and MIV-160 offers a valuable opportunity,” he said.


AstraZeneca payout resolves US tax dispute

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said Monday it had settled a tax dispute with US authorities by agreeing on a net payment of $1.1 billion.

AstraZeneca additionally raised its 2011 earnings target after also securing a lower tax rate and being able to free up some of the $2.3 billion it had set aside as tax provisions, it said in a group statement.

The company said it would release some of the excess provisions, resulting in a net gain to the company’s first-quarter earnings of $500 million.

AstraZeneca added that it was now targeting full-year core earnings per share of up to $7.20 from a previous estimate of $6.75, according to the statement.

Resolution of the tax dispute came after British and US government fiscal authorities agreed to the terms of a pricing agreement for AstraZeneca’s US business for a 13-year period from 2002 to the end of 2014.

AstraZeneca added that it had reached agreement with the US tax authorities on a related valuation matter arising on integration of its US businesses in 2000 after the 1999 merger of Swedish group Astra and British company Zeneca.

“Based on these agreements, AstraZeneca now expects to pay a net amount of $1.1 billion to resolve all US transfer pricing and related valuation matters for all periods from 2000 to the end of 2010,” the group said in its statement.