Glaxo in talks over $1bn drug portfolio sale

GLAXOSMITHKLINE said yesterday it is discussing the sale of its thrombosis drug brands Arixtra and Fraxiparine, along with a related French factory, to Aspen Pharmacare in a deal that could be worth some $1bn (£641.7m).

Britain’s biggest drug-maker said that Aspen had offered to buy the medicines, sales of which are in decline, and it was now in exclusive talks with the South African company about a deal, which is subject to consultation with employees.

Arixtra and Fraxiparine had worldwide sales of approximately £420m in 2012, down from £510m in 2011, and revenues are expected to slide further in 2013.

Neither company put a value on the proposed deal but assuming Aspen pays twice this year’s anticipated sales, it could be worth around £700m – after stripping out sales in China, India and Pakistan, which GSK will retain.

About 1,000 GSK employees would transfer to Aspen, if the deal goes through, the majority of who work at the Notre Dame de Bondeville production site in France.

GSK said the proposed disposal fitted with its strategy of focusing on products with the most growth potential and delivering its new-drug pipeline.

For Aspen, which is already Africa’s biggest maker of generics drugs, the acquisition will fuel its expansion in overseas markets.

Aspen and GSK have a long history of doing deals together. Last year, the British group sold 25 older brands marketed in Australia to Aspen for £172m in another clear-out of non-core drugs