US-based drugmaker Pfizer has received approval from the European Commission (EC) to acquire Hospira in a $17bn deal.

Approval was granted under the European Union (EU) merger regulation based on Pfizer’s commitment to divest certain assets. The deal was first announced by both firms in February this year.

Based in Lake Forest of Illinois, Hospira develops injectable drugs, biosimilars and infusion technologies.

Pfizer chairman and CEO Ian Read said: "We are pleased to have achieved a significant milestone for Pfizer’s pending acquisition of Hospira with the EC’s approval of the transaction.

"We continue to work cooperatively with the regulatory agencies to obtain the requisite approvals, and continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2015."

"We continue to work cooperatively with the regulatory agencies to obtain the requisite approvals."

Hospira’s expanded portfolio of sterile injectable pharmaceuticals comprises acute care and oncology injectables, with a number of differentiated presentations.

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The firm’s biosimilars portfolio, along with GEP’s branded sterile injectables, including anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories and cytotoxics, is expected to create a leading global sterile injectables business.

Pfizer will also use Hospira’s existing commercial capabilities, global scale, scientific expertise and development capabilities to expand the reach of its products that are currently distributed in the US, Europe and key emerging markets.

Subject to governmental and regulatory approvals in certain other jurisdictions and other usual and customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete in the second half of this year.

Image: Hospira corporate headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois. Photo: courtesy of Acherubini2020.