GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced plans to buy its joint venture Shenzhen GSK Neptunus Biologicals (GSKNB) to expand influenza vaccine production capacity in China.
Under a deal unveiled today GSK, which owns 49 per cent of GSKNB, will pay $39m (€27m) for the remaining 51 per cent of the company held by partner Shenzhen Neptunus Interlong Bio-Technique.
The Shenzhen joint venture was established in 2009 as a way of combining GSK’s experience in vaccine and adjuvant development with Neptus’ access to local influenza antigens and knowledge of the region’s market. The firm operates a manufacturing facility in Schenzhen.
A GSK spokeswoman told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that GSKNB, which will operate as GSK Biologics Schenzhen when the deal completes, will aim to make its first vaccine available in the next five to seven years.
The GSKNB deal, if it goes on to be approved by China’s authorities, will be welcome news for GSK’s vaccine business in the country following the collapse of its JV with Jiangsu Walvax Biotech last month.
A company spokeswoman told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “GSK has taken the decision to end its previously announced cooperation agreement to form a Joint Venture (JV) with Jiangsu Walvax Biotech Company (Walvax) to develop and manufacture paediatric vaccines for use in China.
She explained that the formation of the joint venture, which was also announced in 2009, had been subject to conditions that had not been met, but did not go into specifics.
According to a report in ChinaBioToday the deal ended after regulators in China decided not to allow GSK to import its measles mumps and rubella vaccine that was the cornerstone of the agreement.