Fresenius said today it is in talks with “several parties” to sell off its unprofitable biotechnology subsidiary—but possibly hold onto its immunosuppressive drug ATG-Fresenius S, which has long shown a profit.

A selloff of biotech would leave Fresenius with its Fresenius Medical Care, Fresenius Kabi, Fresenius Helios, and Fresenius Vamed units, enabling the medical services company to refocus on hospital and facility management as well as infusions and dialysis.

Fresenius said the biotech selloff will include in part finding a buyer for its trifunctional antibody Removab (catumaxomab), though the company added that a final decision on how to proceed will be made in the first quarter of 2013.

Fresenius Biotech finished the first three quarters of this year with a loss in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of €15 million ($19.7 million), better than the EBIT of €19 million ($24.9 million) lost during the first nine months of 2011, but still well in the red.

The loss came despite a 15% jump in the biotech subsidiary’s sales, to €26 million ($34.1 million). Fresenius expects the biotech subsidiary to finish 2012 with an approximately €25 million ($32.8 million) loss.

However, Fresenius Biotech is faring much better with sales of two individual drugs. ATG-Fresenius S saw its sales zoom 14% during Q1–Q3 2012, to €22.5 million ($29.5 million). The polyclonal antibody has been in use since 1981 for both organ and stem-cell transplants.

Removab sales rose even more at 22%, to €3.3 million ($4.3 million). Removab obtained, and still holds, the only Europe-wide approval to date for a monoclonal antibody developed in Germany when the European Commission approved Removab in 2009 for treating malignant ascites.

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