Abbott Laboratories may sell the flu vaccine unit it acquired as part of its purchase of Solvay Pharmaceuticals a few months ago.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel confirmed that the company is exploring the option to sell the Solvay vaccines business.

The $6.2bn acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals was completed in February. It provided Abbott with the rights to flu drugs such as Influvac, which earned €162m ($197m) in sales outside the US in 2009.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Abbott launched an auction earlier in June and sent marketing materials to a handful of large healthcare companies.

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