SA pharma expands global presence

24 July 2008

Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, has acquired four pharmaceutical products from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for £170-million (approximately R2.7-billion), in a deal that substantially expands the company’s international business.

The JSE-listed company has used its offshore subsidiary, Aspen Global, to acquire the intellectual property rights to the branded Eltroxin, Imuran, Lanoxin and Zyloric – which together presently generate sales of more than R1-billion annually – for all major markets worldwide with the exception of the USA and Zyloric in Japan.

“This landmark transaction accelerates our strategy of global expansion, while simultaneously adding specialist and differentiated products to complement our existing vast product portfolio,” Aspen Group CEO Stephen Saad said in a statement this week.

“We are confident that Aspen’s global distribution network will continue to supply these important products to patients across the world and we look forward to further expanding on the range of Aspen products marketed internationally through this network.”

The transaction strengthens the company’s global ambitions, building on their recent investments in Latin America and East Africa, giving the company a foothold in major European and Japanese markets.

“This is a really exciting deal for Aspen which fits perfectly with our international expansion plans and should provide manufacturing opportunities for the group in the future,” Saad said.

“The transaction has been made possible by the mutually beneficial and valued relationship which the Aspen Group has enjoyed with GSK over a number of years.”

Worldwide brand presence

The four products enjoy strong brand presence across more than 100 countries.

Eltroxin is indicated for the treatment of hypothyroidism; Imuran is an immunosuppressant indicated for the survival of organ transplants; Lanoxin is indicated for certain heart conditions including heart failure; and Zyloric is administered for the treatment of gout.

GSK will continue to manufacture these complex products for Aspen under terms of an initial supply agreement, as the transaction also makes provision for a transitional distribution arrangement with GSK.

Aspen currently markets a number of GSK prescription products into the South African market, while Aspen Australia also holds the licence to market and distribute a portfolio of GSK products into the Australian over-the-counter market.

SAinfo reporter

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