- AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had agreed to sell the US rights to its respiratory tract infection treatment to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB for an initial $1.5bn in cash and shares.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, or Sobi would commercialise the respiratory tract infection treatment Synagis in the US and around 130 AstraZeneca employees would transfer to Sobi as part of the transaction, AstraZeneca said.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would receive an upfront consideration of $1.5bn, consisting of $1.0bn in cash and $500m in shares of Sobi upon completion.

AstraZeneca would also receive up to $470m in sales-related payments for Synagis, a $175m milestone following the submission of the Biologics License Application for MEDI8897; potential net payments of approximately $110m on achievement of other MEDI8897 profit and development-related milestones; and a total of $60m in non-contingent payments for MEDI8897 during 2019-2021.

Sobi would have the right to participate in AstraZeneca's share of US profits and losses related to potential new medicine MEDI8897, the company said.

The agreement, subject to customary closing conditions, was currently expected to complete very early 2019, AstraZeneca said.

'We continue to streamline our portfolio, allowing AstraZeneca to allocate resources more effectively, while Sobi's focus on Synagis will enable infants in the US to continue benefiting from this important treatment. Meanwhile, the successful development and commercialisation of MEDI8897 remains important for AstraZeneca,' said Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer.

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