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AstraZeneca to sell antibiotics business to Pfizer

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A sign is seen at an Astra Zeneca site in Macclesfield

New York-based Pfizer Inc. will shell out up to $1.5 billion in upfront and milestone payments for the development and commercialization rights to AstraZeneca plc's small molecule anti-infectives, which is largely located outside the US, according to a statement.

Pfizer this week revealed plans to buy prostate-cancer treatment firm Medivation for $14 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will pay $550m upfront and a further payment of $175m in 2019 for commercialisation and development rights to the late-stage antibiotics business. London-based AstraZeneca employs 2,100 in Wilmington, the company's North American headquarters, and at a manufacturing plant in Newark, Del.

Its shares were trading down 0.2 percent in early deals on August 24, broadly in line with the market. The stock has risen 8.9% this year.

Pfizer will assign its new assets to its Essential Health business, which represented just under half - $6.042 billion - of its second quarter revenue of $13.147 billion.

The transaction will give Pfizer rights to three medicines already on the market, including Zavicefta, which was approved by the European Commission in June.

Pfizer said the transaction will not impact its 2016 financial guidance.

ATM-AVI is a bactericidal, injectable combination of aztreonam and a beta-lactamase inhibitor avibactam, in Phase II development for the treatment of life-threatening Gram-negative bacterial infections caused by multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains.

The agreement does not include biologic anti-infective products coming from AZ's Medimmune unit - notably Synagis (palivizumab) for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections and flu vaccine FluMist - or indeed a stake in anti-infectives firm Entasis Therapeutics which was spun-out by AZ a year ago.

Pfizer will acquire the rights to develop and sell drugs such as Merrem/Meronem, which treats pneumonia and other diseases in hospital patients, and ATM-AVI, which is under development to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

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