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Aspen to buy remaining AstraZeneca anaesthetic rights for up to $766 million

A man walks past a sign at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca said on Thursday it had agreed to sell the U.S. rights to a portfolio of anaesthetics to South Africa's Aspen Group for up to $766 million (579.86 million pounds), a year after Aspen bought the rights outside the United States.

The British group said it would continue to manufacture and supply the seven medicines - Diprivan, EMLA, Xylocaine/Xylocard/Xyloproct, Marcaine, Naropin, Carbocaine and Citanest - for a transition period of up to five years.

"Disposing the remaining rights to the medicines allows both companies to benefit from greater efficiencies as AstraZeneca continues to focus our resources on our three main therapy areas," said AstraZeneca executive Mark Mallon.

AstraZeneca is focusing on oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and respiratory treatments.

It said the deal, which comprises an upfront $555 million and performance related payments of up to $211 million, did not change its financial guidance for 2017.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Jason Neely)