Novartis and GSK to launch joint venture

Novartis aerial shot ENGSUS00120131115141753
Novartis aerial shot ENGSUS00120131115141753

Two of the world’s leading drugmakers, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, have agreed to exchange assets and combine their consumer healthcare units, it has been reported.

Novartis, with a site off Parsonage Road in Horsham, will acquire GSK’s cancer drugs business for $16billion and sell its vaccines division, excluding the flu unit, to GSK for $7.1billion.

The BBC has reported that in a separate deal, Novartis has agreed to sell its animal health division to Lilly for nearly $5.4bn.

Joseph Jimenez, chief executive of Novartis: “The transactions mark a transformational moment for Novartis.

“They focus the company on leading businesses with innovation power and global scale. They also improve our financial strength, and are expected to add to our growth rates and margins immediately.

“We have also created a world-leading consumer healthcare business in our joint venture with GSK.

“We believe the divestment of our smaller Vaccines and Animal Health Divisions will enable us to realise immediate value from these businesses for our shareholders, and those divisions will benefit from being part of large, global businesses that are also leaders in their segments.

“Patients will benefit from even higher levels of innovation that this focus may afford. Looking ahead, this positions Novartis well for future healthcare industry dynamics.”

Last month this newspaper revealed the pharmaceutical giant will sell off part of its Horsham site for housing while exploring the potential to re-use land as a science or business park.

Earlier this year the company confirmed it will cease research operations at the Parsonage Road site by the end of June 2014.

It followed a global review of research locations and put 371 jobs at risk, as well as 170 contractor positions.

Novartis is exploring options for the site and revealed it will sell a parcel of land currently used as a car park to Linden Homes - a sale which will be complete by September 1 this year.

The developer is drawing up plans for a mix of high quality open market and affordable properties. But it did not disclose how many homes could be build on the 8.3 acres north of the site.

Novartis says it wants to create a legacy and is looking into the possibility of retaining facilities for the use of a science or business park on a 19.6 acre section of the site.

The move could pave the way for the creation of highly skilled jobs.

The firm has appointed PharmaVentures to assist in providing expert advice on the feasibility of doing this, and to help identify partners.

Novartis has invested a vast amount of money into the site and has been one of the largest employers in Horsham for many years.

It is home to science lab facilities which are in short supply in London and a rare find between the city and the south coast.