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ASTRAZENECA

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.

NORWAY

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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