Pfizer to buy Astra firm for £1.1bn in new twist

Pfizer is buying the antibiotics business of rival AstraZeneca. Picture: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
Pfizer is buying the antibiotics business of rival AstraZeneca. Picture: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
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UK drugs giant AstraZeneca is selling its antibiotics division to US rival Pfizer in an agreement that could be worth more than £1.1 billion.

The sale is part of a portfolio reshaping at AstraZeneca, and comes two years after it rejected an unwanted £69bn takeover approach from Viagra-maker Pfizer for the whole company.

READ MORE: Astra may seek own deals as Pfizer abandons bid

It also follows Pfizer’s agreement earlier this week to buy US biotech firm Medivation for $14bn. AstraZeneca gets an upfront payment of $550 million from the US pharma giant on completion of the deal later this year, followed by a further $175m in January 2019.

Pfizer will also pay up to $250m upon meeting certain sales milestones.

AstraZeneca wants to focus its business on oncology, respiratory, cardiovascular and diabetic diseases.

It is also adding more biologic drugs to its portfolio, which are harder for rivals to copy then small molecule-based treatments.

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