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Elan Corporation plc recently decided to sell its remaining 7.8 million ordinary shares in Alkermes plc (ALKS - Analyst Report) pursuant to Rule 144 under the US Securities Act of 1933. The sale is expected to close on Feb 6, 2013.

In Mar 2012, Elan had sold 24.15 million shares, or 76% of its stake in Alkermes. Excluding underwriter fees, Elan had recorded net proceeds of approximately $381 million from the transaction.

Elan had acquired the shares of Alkermes in Sep 2011 following the merger of its Elan Drug Technologies (EDT) segment with Alkermes. The merged entity, known as Alkermes plc, is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. As per the terms of the deal, Alkermes made a cash payment of $500 million apart from giving Elan 31.9 million of its ordinary shares.

Following the divestiture of the EDT segment, Elan is focused solely on the BioNeurology Division, which is driven by Tysabri (natalizumab), the principal growth driver at Elan. Tysabri is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s disease and is developed in collaboration with Biogen Idec. (BIIB - Analyst Report).

Last month, Elan along with Biogen submitted applications to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) seeking to update Tysabri’s label, as a first line treatment for patients suffering from certain relapsing forms of MS who have tested negative for antibodies to the JC virus (JCV).

Elan recorded total Tysabri sales of $306.6 million, up 9.8% year over year in the third quarter of 2012. We remind investors that the company is set to report its fourth quarter and full year 2012 financial results on Feb 6, 2013. The company expects 2012 revenue to be around $1.2 billion, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Elan carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). However, other pharma stocks such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX - Analyst Report) carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Meanwhile, Alkermes also carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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