British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc. has sold its stake in its American counterpart Moderna for more than $1 billion.
AstraZeneca disposed of its 7.7% holding in the U.S. biotechnology company after its share price rose following reports of its coronavirus vaccine breakthrough.
The report didn't say when AstraZeneca sold its stake nor did it state the price they were sold for. Both companies declined to comment.
Sources with knowledge of the matter said AstraZeneca likely generated around $1.2 billion from the sale. Analysts said the cash should help the company's finances as it develops treatments for other diseases.
The cash is expected to help the company fund its largest ever-acquisition to date - its planned purchase of American rare diseases specialists Alexion for $39 billion.
The two companies have standing partnerships in the development of treatments for other diseases. Both are separately rolling out their own coronavirus vaccine treatments worldwide.
Moderna's vaccine was recently cleared for emergency use in the U.S. The company said it expected to generate sales of up to $18.4 billion from the vaccine this year.
Moderna's vaccine is one of only two RNA vaccines developed and deployed against the coronavirus. The other RNA vaccine was developed by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech - the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use and the first cleared for regular use.
Moderna's treatment was issued an emergency use authorization by the administration in December. It was authorized for use in Canada the same month and by the European Union in early January. Similar to Pfizer's vaccine candidate, Moderna's vaccine was proven to be about 95% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Since its vaccine was approved for emergency use in the U.S., Moderna's share price has risen to a 52-week high of $189.26 a share. The stock was last trading at $154.81 per share.