December 19, 2013 / 8:00 AM / 4 years ago

AstraZeneca to buy Bristol stake in diabetes venture for up to $4.1 bln

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca has agreed to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb’s stake in a diabetes joint venture between the two drugmakers for an initial $2.7 billion plus up to $1.4 billion in additional payments.

The move, announced by the two partners on Thursday, will bulk up AstraZeneca’s thin drug portfolio and give Bristol more funds to invest in other areas, such as cancer, where it is developing promising therapies tapping into the immune system.

Speculation that such a deal might be on the cards was fuelled last month after Bristol decided to exit diabetes drug research.

The Bristol-AstraZeneca diabetes joint venture includes the oral medicines Onglyza, Kombiglyze and Forxiga, as well as the injectable treatments Bydureon and Byetta. Last week, the venture received a boost when an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration endorsed its new diabetes pill dapagliflozin.

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