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01 Mar 2021 | 08:41

AstraZeneca sells stake in Moderna for $1.2bn

(Sharecast News) - AstraZeneca has cashed in on its bet on Moderna, it was revealed on Monday, as the latter's share price rocketed on the success of its Covid-19 vaccine. The FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals giant sold its 7.7% stake in the American firm, the Times reported on Monday morning, with the estimated $1.2bn cash set to help it underpin its own pipeline of drugs in development.

Its effect on AstraZeneca's finances would also come in handy as it completed its largest acquisition to date, being the $39bn takeover of US-based rare diseases speciality drugs developer Alexion.

According to the Times, AstraZeneca was Moderna's second-largest investor in 2020.

Moderna said last week that it was expecting Covid-19 vaccine sales of $18.4bn in the current year, which was well above expectations on Wall Street and markedly higher than the $15bn forecast from rival Pfizer.

Both Moderna and Pfizer are selling their vaccines on a commercial basis, while AstraZeneca's shot, co-developed with the University of Oxford, was being supplied under not-for-profit terms.

The timing of AstraZeneca's sell-down of its stake in Moderna was not clear, and the Times said a spokesman for the company declined to comment.

AstraZeneca still had a partnership with Moderna focussing on diseases other than the coronavirus following the sale.
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