Abbott Laboratories has announced an agreement to acquire the Solvay Group’s pharmaceuticals business, with treatments in the field of cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and gastroenterology, for €4.5bn ($6.6bn).

Belgium-based Solvay Pharmaceuticals has a significant presence and infrastructure in key high-growth emerging markets, including Eastern Europe and Asia and is expected to add around $3bn in sales per year.

The acquisition also includes full global rights to the fenofibrate franchise, for which Abbott pays royalties for US rights.

Abbott chairman and chief executive officer Miles D White said that the acquisition will diversify the company portfolio, expand presence into emerging markets, enhance investment in R&D and accelerate long-term earnings.

“In anticipation of future market needs, we are ensuring we have the technologies, products, infrastructure and reach to serve patients globally and continue to deliver sustainable industry-leading growth,” said White.

Solvay’s pharmaceutical portfolio includes expertise in markets such as cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and gastroenterology as well as products for Parkinson’s disease, Meniere’s disease, vertigo and irritable bowel syndrome.

The acquisition also includes Solvay’s vaccines business and a small molecular diagnostics unit that will become part of Abbott’s diagnostics organisation.