GSK buys into Aspen Pharmacare

13 May 2009

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced the acquisition of a 16% stake in Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, as part of a deal that will see the two firms combining their commercial activities in sub-Saharan Africa, and several assets being divested to Aspen.

GSK said extending the strategic relationship with Aspen supported its strategy to accelerate sales growth in emerging markets.

“The combination of our commercial activities is highly complementary and will mean that together we can provide more medicines of value to more patients in these countries,” GSK emerging markets president Abbas Hussain said in a statement this week.

“At the same time, GSK will also benefit from investing in one of Africa’s leading healthcare companies with a formidable track record of delivery.”

Aspen will issue GSK with 68.5-million new shares, representing a 16% shareholding in the company, in return for a manufacturing facility in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, as well as eight specialist medicines.

The products to be divested include Alkeran (excluding US), Kemadrin, Lanvis, Leukeran, Myleran, Purinethol, Septrin and Trandate, which had combined sales of £56-million (about R712.5-million) in 2008.

The Bad Oldesloe manufacturing site produces some of the products to be divested and a number of other products previously acquired by Aspen from GSK in June 2008.

As part of the agreement and on closure of the transaction, Aspen will appoint a non-executive director, nominated by GSK, to its board of directors.

“These divestments reflect GSK’s strategy to simplify its operations and divest certain products which can be more efficiently commercialised by other parties,” the statement read.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK and Aspen will collaborate on the commercialisation of their current and future product portfolios in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, where the majority of combined current sales are attributable to GSK.

“Going forward, the collaboration will build a broader and more diverse portfolio for these countries, with Aspen’s extensive pipeline of new products expected to benefit from greater leverage through GSK’s existing commercial infrastructure,” the company said.

In South Africa, where Aspen has extensive commercial capability, GSK will transfer marketing and distribution rights to Aspen for its pharmaceutical products.

SAinfo reporter

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