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Payday For Pozen: AstraZeneca Makes $40M Upfront Payment

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(Nasdaq: POZN) has received its initial payday from partner AstraZeneca - a whopping $40 million - as an upfront payment for a drug development deal.

Pozen and AstraZeneca announced in August plans to combine AstraZenca's popular heartburn drug Nexium (also called the Purple Pill) with the painkiller Naproxen for the treatment of people with chronic pain such as that caused by arthritis.

The combined pill will help people who run the risk of developing ulcers when using a painkiller such as Naproxen, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

The payment announcement came a day after Pozen and another pharmaceutical giant partner, GlaxoSmithKline, announced good news related to the migraine drug the two are jointly developing.

Pozen, which is based in Chapel Hill, received the AstraZeneca payment after a regulatory waiting period expired. The deal could mean as much as $160 million more to Pozen in milestone payments and another $175 million if sales performance milestones are hit. Pozen also will receive royalties.

Also Thursday, Pozen revised its financial guidance for the third quarter to reflect between $1 million and $2 million for work related to the AstraZeneca project. For the year, Pozen expects between $5 million and $7 million from AstraZeneca, pushing operating income as high as $16 million with expenses between $36 million and $38 million.

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