Abbott's Board of Directors has given the thumbs up for cleaving off its research arm, and has also declared a special dividend distributing the outstanding shares of the new firm's common stock.

The company first announced in October 2011 that it would be spinning off its research-based pharmaceuticals business into a separate entity called AbbVie.

Now, just a step away from completing the separation, Abbott's board has announced that for every one share of Abbott common shares held, shareholders will receive one share of AbbVie common stock. 

No fractional shares of AbbVie will be issued, with shareholders to receive cash for 

these instead, it said.

The distribution of AbbVie common stock will finalise the split, establishing AbbVie as a research-based specialty biopharmaceuticals company with a broad portfolio of medicines. 

The newborn's chief asset will be the blockbuster Humira (adalimumab), followed by the prostate cancer drug Lupron (leuprolide), the HIV therapy Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and the hypothyroid medication Synthroid (levothyroxine).

Abbott, on the other hand, will be one of the largest science-based healthcare companies with offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals – "all aligned with favourable healthcare trends", the firm noted.