Biota Holdings Limited and AstraZeneca announced that the 2005 collaboration and license agreement with MedImmune has been assigned to AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca has also secured the rights to a number of Asian and Pacific territories not held by MedImmune under the original agreement and for which Biota will receive an additional US$3.5 million payment, plus future royalties.

The collaboration and license agreement relates to a series of antivirals aimed at the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The assignment of the agreement results in part from AstraZeneca's acquisition of MedImmune in 2007. Under the agreement, all existing milestone and royalty entitlements are preserved and Biota's research and development programme has been extended. The lead candidate BTA9881 entered phase I clinical trials in July 2007, which are continuing.

Peter Cook, Biota's chief executive officer commented "We are very pleased to have AstraZeneca as licensee for our RSV programme on a global basis. AstraZeneca's tremendous track record in developing and marketing small molecule therapeutics will be of great benefit in bringing new RSV products to the market."

Dr Brent Vose, vice president & head of AstraZeneca's Oncology & Infection Therapy Area commented "This is part of a growing commitment for AstraZeneca in antiviral therapies. We look forward to using our drug discovery and development expertise to bring Biota's innovative RSV platform to the benefit of patients worldwide with RSV. It will be an exciting collaboration in which we intend to leverage the strengths of both companies."

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US$29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection product sales.

Biota is a leading anti-infective drug development company based in Melbourne Australia, with key expertise in respiratory diseases, particularly influenza. Biota developed the first-in-class neuraminidase inhibitor, zanamivir, subsequently marketed by GlaxoSmithKline as Relenza.