(Reuters) – Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday it intends to spin off its women’s health, biosimilar drugs and older products into a new publicly traded company, a move that will allow the company to focus on growth drivers like cancer drug Keytruda and vaccines.
The spin-off will reduce the number of human health products that Merck makes and sells by about 50%.
The move is a culmination of the drugmaker’s strategy of tightening its focus around a few key areas, particularly cancer, where Merck has turned Keytruda into one of the world’s best-selling drugs, Merck Chief Executive Officer Ken Frazier said in an interview.
“The whole key to this is that it allows Merck to be much more focused on its greatest growth opportunities.”
Merck, which expects to complete the transaction in the first half of 2021, said the new company will send it $8 billion to $9 billion through a special tax-free dividend. The new company is expected to have $8.5 to $9.5 billion in debt.
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