GlaxoSmithKline says its $1.1 billion deal to sell its older heart medicines Arixtra and Fraxiparine to Aspen Pharmacare has been completed. The South African drugmaker took control of most of the commercial operations for those products Wednesday, but it will be midyear before it takes over control of a GSK manufacturing site in France to produce them.
If you take a big bet on an up-and-coming pharmaceutical maker and you turn out to be right, you should be able to reap some profit from your investment. That's what GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) intends to do with a third of its stake in Aspen Pharmacare, a fast-growing South African drugmaker that has had a partnership with GSK since 2009.
The Hatch-Waxman Act shook up the generic drugs business in 1984, and almost 30 years later, it's safe to say the law had its desired effect. About 84% of the 4 billion prescriptions written each year are for generic drugs, saving patients and government programs billions of dollars a year. In other words, generic drugs are big business. And with a slew of blockbuster brands now off patent, it's a big business with growing pains.
South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is marshalling its manufacturing assets as it prepares for a big global push next year. A big part of that expansion will come from new API and drug manufacturing operations it is buying from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.
While some of the biggest names in drugmaking are having a hard time growing their bottom lines, South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is seeing the kind of growth that would be the envy of any in the business. And it claims the best is yet to come.
Last Thursday, Merck & Co sold off a Netherlands-based API plant to Aspen Pharmacare, with the latter company looking to expand its manufacturing operations in Europe. Merck, however, might be relieved to contract its own operations in that particular corner of the continent, as the plant is part of an inherited manufacturing network that began causing the company grief when it tried to slash jobs there in 2010.
For Aspen Pharmacare, the purchase of a Netherlands-based API plant from Merck & Co. was just a piece of a European expansion strategy that has recently taken flight. But for Merck, the sale meant saving some jobs at an inherited plant that was part of labor controversy in years past.
South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare ast year said it had aspirations to expand into Europe. In the last week it has gone after that plan with a vengeance, announcing two deals that would give it a footprint in the U.S. and Europe and products that are sold globally.
South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare has announced two deals within a week that will take it from being simply the dominant player in South Africa to having a manufacturing network that stretches into the U.S. and Europe.
South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare would get a large manufacturing facility in France if it completes a deal to buy GlaxoSmithKline's older thrombosis drug brands, Arixtra and Fraxiparine.