November 13, 2018 / 7:36 AM / in a month

AstraZeneca sells infant drug rights to Sobi for $1.5 bln upfront

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca took another step to refocus its portfolio on priority projects on Tuesday by selling U.S. rights to a treatment for a serious infant lung infection to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum for an upfront fee of $1.5 billion.

Around 130 AstraZeneca staff will transfer to Sobi as the Swedish company, widely known as Sobi, takes over marketing of the drug Synagis in the United States.

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, the companies said.

AstraZeneca will receive $1.0 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. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens)

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