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Valeant is selling Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Photo: Allen G. Breed / AP

Embattled drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals has agreed to sell Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of "female Viagra" drug Addyi, back to Sprout's shareholders in exchange for a 6% royalty that starts 18 months from when the deal closes. A lawsuit accusing Valeant of botching the Addyi rollout and pricing also will be dropped.

The bottom line: Valeant's $1 billion deal for Sprout has been a major bust, considering analysts estimate sales of Addyi are less than $10 million this year. The drug itself received federal approval on questionable grounds, given its lack of clinical effectiveness and side effects.

Why it's a big deal: Because Valeant isn't getting a Canadian nickel in upfront payment here. It's actually loaning Sprout $25 million to fund initial operating expenses. Back of the envelope math puts the ROI at around 😱 .

Big picture: "The Sprout acquisition capped several years of frenzied debt-fueled deal-making under Michael Pearson, Valeant's former chief executive, and the group now has about $26 billion of net borrowings. The deal is seen as symbolic of the drug-maker's hubris." – David Crow, FT

Go deeper

United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby believes that people will feel safe traveling again by this time next year, depending on the pace of vaccinations and the government's ongoing response to the pandemic, he said at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.

The risks and rewards of charging state-backed hackers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last week’s stunning indictment of three North Korean hackers laid bare both the advantages and drawbacks of the U.S. government’s evolving strategy of using high-profile prosecutions to publicize hostile nation-state cyber activities.

Why it matters: Criminal charges can help the U.S. establish clear norms in a murky and rapidly changing environment, but they may not deter future bad behavior and could even invite retaliation against U.S. intelligence officials.

53 mins ago - World

Scoop: Netanyahu asked Biden to keep Trump's sanctions on International Criminal Court

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty

Netanyahu asked Biden in their first phone call last week to keep sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in place, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials are concerned that removing the sanctions would hamper Israel's efforts to stop a potential war crimes investigation into Israel, and that the court's prosecutor could see it as a signal that the U.S. isn't firmly opposed to that investigation.

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