Abbot to buy Solvay Pharma for $6.6B

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Abbott reached a definitive agreement to acquire Solvay Pharmaceuticals, previously a subsidiary of the Belgium-based Solvay Group, for $6.6 billion in cash on Monday.

The acquisition includes full global rights to the fenofibrate franchise (TriCor), used to treat high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. Currently, the Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott has U.S. rights to fenofibrate and pays royalties to Solvay.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, based in Weesp, the Netherlands, has a portfolio in specialty markets such as cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and gastroenterology. Solvay has treatments for Parkinson's disease, Meniere's disease, vertigo and irritable bowel syndrome. Solvay also offers products to treat men's and women's hormonal health, as well as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

The acquisition also includes Solvay's vaccines business, which will provide Abbott entry into that market. Solvay has a small molecular diagnostics unit that will become part of Abbott's diagnostics organization upon the transaction close.

In addition to one-time transaction-related items that are expected to occur between 2010 and 2012, the transaction also includes payments of up to EUR300 million ($438.87 million, U.S.) if certain sales milestones are met between 2011 and 2013.

Abbott said, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.