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GSK divests meningitis vaccines to Pfizer Ireland
LONDON—GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) has announced the divestment of Nimenrix and Mencevax, its meningitis vaccines, to Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. Total consideration for the transaction, which includes some deferred consideration, is €115 million (approximately $128.6 million). The deal is subject to final approval from the European Commission, other regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, and is expected to be completed before the end of 2015.
This sale is in keeping with commitments given to the European Commission and other regulators in connection with the merger control clearances tied to GSK's three-part deal with Novartis AG. In that transaction, GSK acquired Novartis’ vaccines business, excluding influenza vaccines, and in order to satisfy regulatory clearances, GSK agreed to divest Nimenrix and Mencevax.
Nimenrix (meningococcal serogroups A, C, W-135 and Y conjugate vaccine) is a single-dose meningococcal ACWY-TT (tetanus toxoid) conjugated vaccine developed against Neisseria meningitidis for all age groups above one year. Mencevax (meningococcal polysaccharide serogroups A, C, Y and W-135 vaccine) is a single-dose meningococcal ACWY unconjugated polysaccharide vaccine designed to control outbreaks of meningococcal infection and for travelers heading to countries where the disease is endemic or highly epidemic.
Nimenrix is approved for sale in 61 countries across the European Economic Area, Canada, Australia and emerging markets, and has registrations undergoing review in another 18 countries across Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Mencevax is approved in 79 countries across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and New Zealand. These vaccines saw combined global sales of £34 million (approximately $53.5 million) last year.
“The addition of Nimenrix and Mencevax is an important milestone for Pfizer Vaccines. Adding these two innovative and complementary vaccines to our current portfolio will allow us to more completely respond to meningococcal disease outbreaks as well as proactively address a critical public health need – the prevention of meningococcal disease across all ages,” Susan Silbermann, president of Pfizer Vaccines, commented in a press release. “Acquiring these quadrivalent vaccines will broaden our ability to address the burden of meningococcal meningitis, an uncommon but serious and sometimes fatal disease. This helps us to further fulfill our vision to protect lives with innovative vaccines to fight serious diseases worldwide and gives us even greater capability to meet the needs of the global community we serve.”
In other recent news for GSK, the company announced on June 15 a substantial investment to launch the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, an independent, non-profit research institute that will be based in Seattle. The new center will pioneer new technologies and approaches for decoding how genes are controlled and how the “operating system” of a cell functions both in healthy and diseased states. It is expected that the institute will be operational later this year.
GSK and Altius have inked a 10-year collaboration providing long-term support for innovative research. GSK will provide more than $95 million in cash over the first five years, as well as other resources to advance basic research and technology efforts. Additional funding will also be provided to apply the Institute's technologies and discoveries to a variety of drug discovery and development projects, including projects identified by GSK, which has retained first rights to option the Institute's inventions and invest in commercialization of its discoveries via spinout companies.
“With this visionary investment, GSK is gaining a front-line view into the revolution now underway in understanding how cells function,” said Dr. John A. Stamatoyannopoulos, an internationally recognized leader in gene regulation research and professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine who will head up Altius. “Innovative technologies are needed to gain a deeper understanding of how cells’ ‘operating systems’ work. Translating this understanding effectively into clinical settings and the discovery of new medicines will require wholly new approaches to combining technology, molecular biology and computation. GSK’s pioneering support will enable Altius to innovate at the forefront of gene regulation science.”