It's been interesting to note that in the past few months several companies have chosen to separate their medtech and pharma units. One of the first notable moves was in mid-2011 when AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical giant, sold off Astra Tech , which sells dental and urological products. Later in the year, Covidien and Abbott Laboratories announced their intentions to sell off their pharmaceutical units to focus more on their medical product lines. Most recently, Smith & Nephew has distanced itself from its biologics unit to create a joint venture with Essex Woodlands . Although Smith & Nephew's Biologics and Clinical Therapies division isn't strictly a pharmaceutical unit, selling products such as the EXOGEN long-bone stimulation device, it's certainly much closer to that end of the spectrum compared to the rest of Smith & Nephew's orthopedic device portfolio.

Anyway, it's probably too soon to label this a full-blown trend, but might be something to keep an eye on.

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