Pfizer is considering a partial spin off of its animal health division as the company looks to raise around $3bn.

The pharmaceutical major has investigated the possibility of placing up to 19.9% of the company’s shares, valuing the unit at approximately $18bn, reports the Financial Times.

The talks come months after Pfizer first revealed plans to drop both its animal health and infant nutrition unit in an attempt to streamline the company’s business following criticism over poor returns.

Germany-based Bayer was reportedly interested in acquiring the business, but Pfizer is unlikely to consider a full sale due to the considerable tax hit that would be incurred.

Pfizer’s streamlining attempts progressed last year with the $2.38bn sale of its capsule-making business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which many at the time considered to be the start of a mass sale or spin off of non-pharmaceutical businesses by the company.

Pfizer has been investigating ways in which to streamline its business following the patent expiry of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor which occurred in December, 2011.

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Lipitor was Pfizer’s biggest earner and was the most profitable prescription drug in history, averaging annual sales of $11bn – approximately one sixth of the company’s total sales – and peaking at $13bn in 2010.