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Abbott to Split Into Two Separate Companies, Reports Q3 Sales Rise 13 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Abbott today announced that it will split into two separate, publicly-traded companies — one focused on diversified medical products and the other on research-based pharmaceuticals.

The diversified medical products business, which includes the branded generic pharmaceutical, medical devices, diagnostics (including molecular diagnostics), and nutritional businesses, will retain the Abbott name. These businesses combined bring in annual revenues of roughly $22 billion.

The research-based pharmaceutical firm will be named at a later time and will include the firm's portfolio of proprietary pharmaceuticals and biologics. This business has around $18 billion in annual revenue.

Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott, will retain those positions for the diversified medical products firm. Richard Gonzalez, currently EVP of global pharmaceuticals, will become chairman and CEO of the research-based pharmaceutical company.

The split will take the form of a tax-free distribution to Abbott shareholders of a new, publicly-traded stock for the new pharma firm. The stock distribution ratio will be determined at a future date, said Abbott.

The firm also released its third-quarter financial results today, reporting a 13 percent increase in overall sales to $9.82 billion from $8.68 billion for the third quarter of 2010. Excluding one-time items, its net income for the quarter was $1.85 billion, or $1.18 per share, versus $1.63 billion, or $1.05 per share, for Q3 2010.

Abbott's molecular diagnostics sales jumped 17 percent to $111 million from $95 million year over year. Its US sales for MDx products were $54 million versus $57 million for international sales.

During the quarter the US Food and Drug Administration cleared Abbott's companion diagnostic kit to detect rearrangements of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene in non-small cell lung cancer. The Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe is for use with Pfizer's Xalkori (crizotinib) ALK-inhibitor.

Abbott said that it expects to report full-year 2011 EPS of between $4.64 and $4.66, excluding certain items.

The firm's board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of $.48 per share payable on Nov. 15, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Oct. 14.