Osteoarthritis drug Vimovo has been a lagging contributor to Pozen’s (NASDAQ:POZN) top line financials. Now the drug’s U.S. rights are in the hands of new partner Horizon Pharma and Pozen gets to pocket at least $5 million a year in guaranteed minimum royalties from Vimovo sales.

Chapel Hill-based Pozen announced on Tuesday that Vimovo’s U.S. rights, held by AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), will be acquired by Illinois company Horizon. Horizon’s is paying AstraZeneca $35 million for those rights; Pozen is guaranteed annual minimum royalty payments of $5 million in 2014 and $7.5 million each year after, as long as Vimovo’s patents are effective and there are no generic versions of the drug on the market. To put those royalty figures into perspective, Pozen reported $1.7 million in royalty revenue through the third quarter from AstraZeneca’s sales of Vimovo.

“We did not have minimum guarantees from AstraZeneca,” Pozen CEO John Plachetka said on a conference call to discuss the deal. “This would amount to bumping up the sales two and half fold, actually almost three fold.”

Pozen traded as high as $7 per share on the news Tuesday before settling at $6.69, up 14.75 percent from Monday’s closing price.

Vimovo is a combination drug that pairs the pain reliever naproxen with AstraZeneca’s stomach acid reducer omeprazole. The combination drug employs Pozen’s delayed release technology which delivers the pain reliever in a manner that’s safer on the stomach. When AstraZeneca licensed marketing rights to Vimovo in 2006, the company had its eye on offering a safer alternative to former blockbuster pain drug Vioxx, which was later tainted by associations with serious and even fatal cardiovascular risks.

But AstraZeneca has struggled to move the needle on U.S. sales. In the wake of AstraZeneca’s decision earlier this year to retrench its Vimovo marketing efforts Plachetka said he thought the drug was a poor fit with the current cardiovascular focus AstraZeneca’s drug portfolio.

In Horizon, Pozen has a more appropriate partner. Horizon plans to sell Vimovo through the same drug marketing program as its own osteoarthritis drug Duexis, a product that generated $31.5 million in third quarter sales. Horizon frames the deal as part of the its path to profitability. Horizon plans to expand its sales force by from 150 to 250, with its representatives promoting both Duexis and Vimovo to physicians. Horizon expects to begin selling Vimovo in the first quarter of 2014. Plachetka said that with Horizon CEO Tim Walbert’s experience selling non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Vimovo is in good hands.

“They’ve got an extremely deep history of marketing,” Plachetka said on a conference call to discuss the deal. “Tim has personally been involved with selling virtually every major NSAID.”

Plachetka offered no details on exactly how the deal happened other than to say that Pozen has been supportive of AstraZeneca exercising its options under the Vimovo licensing agreement to assign the Vimovo’s rights to another company. Plachetka said the terms of the original license gave Pozen the right to consent to that assignment and Pozen has done so.

The deal does not end Pozen’s relationship with AstraZeneca, which still retain the marketing rights for the drug outside of the U.S. AstraZeneca’s sales efforts have borne some fruit. Through the third quarter, AstraZeneca reported $50 million in Vimovo sales. Pozen’s receives a 6 percent royalty on those sales; that royalty ramps up to 10 percent in 2016.