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AstraZeneca keeps pruning drugs in US$1.5b sale to Sobi
[PARIS] AstraZeneca Plc agreed to sell US rights to the respiratory medicine Synagis to Sweden's Sobi for at least US$1.5 billion.
Sobi, officially Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, also gained the right to share the US profits and losses on a potential new medicine that targets the same lung virus Synagis treats, which Astra is developing with Sanofi, the Cambridge, England-based company said in a statement.
Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot is paring back Astra's portfolio, selling the rights to aging blockbusters such as Nexium and Seroquel as a new drug crop emerges. The goal is to become "very focused, very lean," with innovative drugs driving growth, Soriot said last week.
Sobi shares rose as much as 7.2 per cent in Stockholm trading Tuesday, the most since July, while Astra was up as much as 0.9 per cent in London.
Astra is also eligible for as much as US$470 million in payments related to Synagis sales and a further US$345 million related to development of the experimental drug, called MEDI8897.
The UK drugmaker gets US$1 billion in cash and US$500 million worth of Sobi shares and said it plans to use the cash for general corporate purposes. Sobi will get around 130 Astra employees, who will transfer as part of the transaction. The deal is expected to complete at the start of 2019.