As­traZeneca sells off more as­sets from its is­land of mis­fit drugs in $1.6B Pfiz­er deal

As­traZeneca has com­plet­ed an­oth­er stage in its sys­tem­at­ic re­treat from the an­tibi­otics busi­ness, sell­ing a port­fo­lio of mar­ket­ed and ex­per­i­men­tal small mol­e­cule an­tibi­otics to an ac­quis­i­tive Pfiz­er for $725 mil­lion in cash and an­oth­er $850 mil­lion in mile­stones.

The first stage in the re­treat start­ed in 2014, as it be­gan to wind down its ear­ly-stage an­tibi­otics re­search group in Waltham, MA, which had 175 staffers when Pas­cal So­ri­ot took over as CEO at the phar­ma gi­ant. In­dus­try sources at the time tipped me off to the com­pa­ny’s de­ci­sion to see if it could find a buy­er for the group. But when no deal emerged, As­traZeneca de­cid­ed to spin out a small group of sur­vivors in a new ven­ture dubbed En­ta­sis, with a $40 mil­lion round to get it set up.

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