Novartis to sell influenza vaccines business to CSL for US$275m

Non-influenza business of Novartis Vaccines is being bought by GlaxoSmithKline, as announced in April

Novartis has agreed to sell its influenza vaccines business to CSL Limited (CSL) of Australia for US$275m.

The deal requires regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

The Swiss company said in April that it would sell its non-influenza vaccines business to GlaxoSmithKline for $5.25bn plus potential milestone payments of up to $1.8bn and royalties.

CSL has more than 40 years of experience in the influenza vaccines business and operates in 27 countries with more than 13,000 employees worldwide. In addition to vaccines, the company has established businesses in plasma-driven therapies, pharmaceuticals, antivenoms and immunohaemotology.

'In CSL, we have found not only an owner for the influenza business that shares our commitment to protecting public health, but also a strong growth platform for the business and our associates,' said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.

The acquisition will create the second-largest vaccines company in the global influenza industry

The Australian company will combine the Novartis influenza vaccines unit with its subsidiary, bioCSL, which is based in Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria.

CSL said the acquisition would create the second-largest vaccines company in the global influenza industry with manufacturing plants in the US, UK, Germany and Australia.

Novartis, like bioCSL, is currently transitioning its three-strain (trivalent) influenza vaccine brands to four-strain (quadrivalent) formulations through a multi-year clinical programme. This includes an adjuvanted influenza vaccine for both elderly and paediatric populations.

'This will transform bioCSL’s existing influenza vaccine business, giving us first class facilities, global scale and product and geographical diversity,' said bioCSL’s General Manager, John Anderson.

The combined business will continue to in-license and distribute a broad range vaccines and specialist pharmaceuticals, and produce blood typing reagents for local use. It will also continue to manufacture anti-venoms and Q fever vaccine as the world’s only supplier of these uniquely Australian medicines.

'While the global scope of our business will expand significantly, bioCSL remains committed to the reliable and timely supply of vaccines and pharmaceutical products in Australia,' Anderson said.

Novartis said it remains committed to the influenza business during the transition period until the deal is completed and will honour agreements with customers, research and development for influenza vaccines and product launches.

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