AstraZeneca in major vaccine purchase

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca on Monday said it has agreed to buy US biotechnology company MedImmune for $15.6 billion (105.4 billion kronor) in total.

“AstraZeneca today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MedImmune Inc. in an all-cash transaction,” the group said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

“Under the terms of the agreement, which has unanimous MedImmune Board support, AstraZeneca will acquire all of the … shares of MedImmune common stock at a price of 58 dollars per share, for a total consideration of approximately 15.6 billion dollars.”

MedImmune is based in Maryland in the eastern United States and specialises in vaccines.

AstraZeneca, the third-biggest European drugs maker behind GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis, revealed that the deal was expected to complete in June 2007.

Cost savings from the acquisition were expected to be towards $500 million per year by 2009, the group added.