Abbott to buy Solvay pharma unit in $6.6B deal

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is continuing on its buying spree, muscling Nycomed aside and announcing a deal this morning to buy Solvay's (SVYSY) pharmaceuticals unit for about $6.6 billion. The deal price includes $440 million to cover milestones on products from 2011 to 2013.

The deal gives Abbott sole ownership of a blockbuster cholesterol franchise along with other therapeutics for hypertension, hormone replacement and neurological diseases. It also underscores the pharma industry's strong belief that Washington is on track to deliver a health reform package that will leave their businesses highly profitable in the U.S.

This is just the latest in a string of deals for the pharma company. It spent $540 million in recent weeks to buy the cardiovascular tech company Evalve as well as the nutrition units of India's Wockhardt. The New York Times notes that it's also just one of a string of big drug companies hungry for new acquisitions. Credit Suisse has identified Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb as two big buyers prowling the biopharmaceuticals market. J&J, which this morning announced a deal to buy 18 percent of Crucell, was also mentioned.

- read the story from the New York Times