GlaxoSmithKline Selling Thrombosis Drugs to the Aspen Group for $1.13 Billion

Andrew Klips  |

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) disclosed Monday that it has agreed to sell its thrombosis brands, Aristra® and Fraxiparine®, and its Notre-Dame de Bondeville manufacturing site in France to the Aspen Group for 700 million pounds ($1.13 billion) in an all-cash deal. Glaxo, the largest drugmaker in England, said that 100 million pounds in the deal relates to inventory.

The two have been in talks pertaining to the acquisition since early in September.   The divesture is part of a bigger plan by Glaxo early this year to let go of drugs that are declining in sales and focus on its late-stage pipeline, which can yield bigger profits upon regulatory approval. On September 9, Glaxo agreed to sell its nutritional drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena to Japan’s Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd for 1.35 billion pounds ($2.18 billion) in cash.

Total sales of the drugs involved in the transaction were 177 million pounds ($285.91 million) in the first half of 2013.

Glaxo has owns an 18.6-percent stake in Aspen, a leading generics drug manufacturer and the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Africa. Aspen trades on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange under the ticker “APNJ.”

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“Aspen is a long-term partner of GSK and will be able to dedicate the resources that these products deserve to take them forward. Importantly, we are pleased to be able to preserve the vast majority of jobs through this agreement,” said David Redfern, Chief Strategy Officer at GlaxoSmithKline.

In the deal, Aspen is acquiring global rights – outside of China, India and Pakistan – to Arixtra and Fraxiparine. Glaxo will continue to market and distribute the drugs in Indonesia via license from Aspen.

Glaxo plans to use the net proceeds of approximately 600 million pounds ($969.2 million) for general corporate purposes. The net profit on disposal will be excluded from core operating profit and core earnings per share in 2013, according to the company.

GSK has a robust pipeline of products in late-stage clinical trials, but did suffer a bit of a setback recently with the phase 3 trial of drisapersen in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy missing its primary endpoint of improvement in a six-minute walking test compared to controls. 

Amongst a number of positive developments in the past few weeks, the company received a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation from the FDA for Arzerra in combination with chlorambucil for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who have not received prior treatment and are inappropriate for fludarabine-based therapy. Separately, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved Relvar Ellipta, a drug being developed with Theravance, Inc. (THRX) for treatment of bronchial asthma. The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use also issued a positive opinion recommending marketing authorisation for Relvar Ellipta as a treatment for asthma and COPD.

Shares of GSK eked lower by 13 cents in early Monday trading to $50.35.  So far in 2013, shares are ahead by about 20 percent.

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