What happened

Emergent BioSolutions (EBS -2.70%) has been quite the up-and-down stock of late. On Monday, it had an up session on the market, creeping northward by 1.2% and exceeding the S&P 500's gain of 0.3%. Investors seemed to be expressing cautious optimism about a new deal reached by the contract drug manufacturer and biotech.

So what

That morning before market open, Emergent announced that it had finalized the sale of its travel health business. The buyer is Denmark-headquartered peer Bavarian Nordic, which has handed over $270 million for the set of assets. It's also on the hook to pay up to an additional $110 million to Emergent in potential milestone payments.

Under the terms of the deal, Emergent has transferred the rights to typhoid vaccine Vivotif and cholera jab Vaxchora. Bavarian Nordic is also acquiring Emergent's pipeline vaccine Chikv VLP, aimed at blocking the viral disease chikungunya. For its $270 million, the European company is also acquiring a factory in Switzerland and a research facility in California.

Emergent said that most of its employees involved with these activities are to become Bavarian Nordic workers.

Now what

In the press release detailing the sale, Emergent quoted its CEO Robert Kramer as saying that it has two important benefits. "It allows us to further sharpen our focus on our core products and contract manufacturing services businesses while continuing to deliver these important vaccines to patients and customers who need them," he said.

Judging by their reaction, investors seemed to generally agree, although they might be concerned that a promising investigational program like Chikv VLP was landing in a new pair of hands.