Around 130 AstraZeneca staff will transfer to Sobi as the Swedish
company, widely known as Sobi, takes over marketing of the treatment
Synagis in the United States.
The move is a significant commercial boost for rare diseases
specialist Sobi, giving it a substantially increased U.S. footprint
and expanding its business in immunology, and its shares jumped more
than 6 percent.
"The addition of Synagis will become an important catalyst for
Sobi's future development and will form a powerful platform for
growth in rare diseases," said Chief Executive Guido Oelkers.
For AstraZeneca, whose stock gained 0.7 percent, it marks another
step to streamline operations as it turns increasingly to a new
batch of drugs - notably against cancer - to drive future growth.
Just last week AstraZeneca sold three older drugs for asthma and
rhinitis to a small Swiss company for at least $350 million.
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Sobi also gets the right to participate in AstraZeneca's share of
U.S. profits and losses in a follow-on drug for respiratory
syncytial virus, called MEDI8897, which AstraZeneca is developing
with Sanofi <SASY.PA>, the companies said.
AstraZeneca will receive $1 billion in cash and $500 million in Sobi
shares, equal to a stake of 8 percent in the Swedish group.
The British drugmaker is also entitled to further contingent
payments. It will get up to $470 million in sales-related payments
for Synagis, a $175 million milestone when MEDI8897 is filed for
U.S. approval, and other potential payments related to the new drug
of up to $170 million.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens and Susan
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