Abraxis BioScience Inc. said Friday that its partner Taiho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. had received regulatory approval to sell its breast cancer drug Abraxane in Japan.

The Los Angeles biotech company, which is being sold to New Jersey’s Celgene Corp. for $2.9 billion in cash and stock, said the drug should be available in Japan later this year. Abraxane, which also is being studied to treat several other cancers, has now been approved in 40 countries.

“The approval to market Abraxane in Japan is a major step forward to providing breast cancer patients with a new treatment option,” Abraxis Executive Chairman Patrick Soon-Shiong said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with (Taiho) so that Abraxane is widely and readily available to patients.”

Shares were down 25 cents, or less than a percent, to $74.35 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

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