Merck said Wednesday that it will create a new drug company to sell many of its older, slower-growth products, creating a new pharmaceutical company with $6.5 billion in annual sales focused largely on women’s health drugs like Nexplanon, a long-acting contraceptive implant. It will also sell Merck’s off-patent medicines, including the cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin.

Merck joins rivals including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, which have made similar moves.

Carving off 14% of Merck’s sales into what it is still calling “NewCo” should allow the core company to grow faster, attracting investors who want to bet on the rising sales of the company’s cancer drug, Keytruda, which by itself generates $11 billion in annual sales and grew at a 55% clip in 2018, as well as its businesses in vaccines and hospital drugs.

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