Abbott May Sell Vaccine Unit

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Drug and medical device manufacturer Abbott Laboratories is considering selling its vaccine unit, just a few months after acquiring the business from a European competitor.

Company spokesman Scott Stoffel confirmed Tuesday that the company is exploring the sale of Solvay's vaccine business.

Media outlets first reported the development Monday.

Last year Solvay vaccines sold more than $197 million.

North Chicago-based Abbott acquired the pharmaceutical unit of Belgium company Solvay in February for $6.2 billion.

Solvay's flu vaccine Influvac was initially seen as one of the key products in the purchase, giving Abbott an entrant into the burgeoning vaccines market. Currently flu vaccine production is dominated by European pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

Through the Solvay purchase, Abbott gained access to emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia along with new therapeutic areas, including hormone therapies and vaccines.

Shares of Abbott fell 63 cents to $46.55 in afternoon trading.

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