AstraZeneca sells respiratory drug for $1.5B

AstraZeneca has sold U.S. rights to its treatment for infant lung infections to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum for $1.5 billion, the latest move by the drugmaker to trim its pipeline and refocus on priority drugs, according to Bloomberg.

When the sale is final, the Swedish drugmaker, also known as Sobi, will take over marketing of the respiratory treatment Synagis in the U.S. and take on 130 AstraZeneca staffers.

As part of the deal, Sobi also gained the right to share in the U.S. profit and losses on a potential new medicine, being jointly developed by Sanofi and AstraZeneca, that targets the same lung virus Synagis treats.

AstraZeneca will get $1 billion in cash and $500 million of Sobi shares.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's CEO, recently has shedded other medications from the drugmaker's portfolio. In October, the drugmaker sold off its European rights to Nexium, its fading blockbuster for acid reflux.

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