Altana sells drug unit to Nycomed

Germany-based Altana is selling its pharmaceutical business to Denmark's Nycomed for €4.5 billion. Last year Altana hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer. The company said it would sell the unit due to slow business, high development costs and an inability to compete in the worldwide pharmaceutical market. Altana "has been under pressure ever since mid-2005, when...Pfizer terminated a cooperation to jointly develop respiratory drug Daxas, which Altana hopes will replace sales of its top-selling ulcer drug Pantoprazol, when the latter will lose patent protection in 2009," reports Easy Bourse. Altana has continued development of Daxas on its own. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.

- see this AP report