LONDON Nov 8 AstraZeneca may seek to
increase its stake in a diabetes joint venture with
Bristol-Myers Squibb, following a decision by the U.S.
firm to exit diabetes drug research, according to Citi.
Bristol said on Thursday it would no longer conduct research
to discover new drugs for diabetes, hepatitis C and
neuroscience, but will increase spending on medicines that
harness the immune system to fight cancer.
That refocusing suggests Bristol could seek to sell its
share in the non-U.S. part of the diabetes joint venture to its
partner AstraZeneca, Citi analyst Andrew Baum said in a note on
Citi estimated Bristol's stake in the business outside the
United States could be worth $4 billion to $6 billion and the
acquisition would boost AstraZeneca's earnings per share by
between 1 percent and 5 percent over the medium term.
A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca, Britain's second biggest
drugmaker, said the company did not comment on speculation.
The Bristol-AstraZeneca diabetes joint venture includes the
oral medicines Onglyza, Kombiglyze and Forxiga, as well as the
injectable treatments Bydureon and Byetta.
Demand for many of these products has been relatively slow
to build up and Forxiga was rejected by U.S. regulators in 2012.