It has been reported that around 20 companies are getting ready to make a bid for AstraZeneca's dental and medical devices unit Astra Tech.

Reuters, which cites people familiar with the matter, says that the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has sent 'information memorandums' to a number of companies, including private equity firms, requesting preliminary bids in March. This comes after an initial screening cut down the list of potential purchasers, some of whom are interested in one or both arms of Astra Tech.

At AstraZeneca's annual press conference last month, chief executive David brennan declined to go into any details about the sale process, merely noting that it was ongoing. Observers believe that Astra Tech could bring in $2 billion.

Headquartered in Sweden, with subsidiaries in 16 markets, AstraTech has around 2,200 employees. Sales last year reached $535 million, up 6%.

Meantime, AstraZeneca and partner Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that the US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the label on their diabetes drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) to include information about the drug's safety and efficacy in patients with kidney failure.