GlaxoSmithKline selling U.S. consumer health plant to CDMO Avara Pharmaceutical

GlaxoSmithKline will sell an OTC plant in the U.S. to Avara Pharmaceutical Services, which will continue to make GSK's Nicorette Lozenges and other products for the U.K. company.

GlaxoSmithKline has found a buyer for a consumer health products plant in the U.S. that it has been thinking about getting rid of for some time. The buyer? CDMO Avara Pharmaceutical Services, which has become a ready recycler of unneeded Big Pharma facilities.

GSK Monday confirmed the deal after Avara Pharmaceutical Services announced that it had a deal to buy the British company’s consumer healthcare manufacturing facility in Aiken, South Carolina. The deal for the 250,000-square-foot facility is expected to close by June 1 of next year.

"This acquisition is an important component of our strategic plan and expands our services by adding additional solid dose capability in the United States, which is in very high demand," Avara CEO Timothy Tyson said in a statement.  

The dollars and cents of the deal were not disclosed, but GSK spokeswoman Joanmarie Goddard said the sale includes a supply agreement with Avara.

"The products manufactured at Aiken remain important to GSK globally, and the deal with Avara Pharmaceutical Services will include a supply agreement to continue the manufacturing and packaging” of smoking cessation product Nicorette, weight-loss product Alli and OTC pain reliever Panadol, Goddard said.

RELATED: GSK expanding OTC plant that had been slated for sale

GSK was looking at selling the Aiken plant and one in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2011 after a $660 million deal with Prestige Brands for 17 of the consumer drugs it sold in North America that included products made at the two facilities. Instead, it kept them but had to spend money on the Aiken facility after manufacturing problems led to the recall of 335,000 vials of Nicorette Lozenges, leading to a national shortage that had addicted users scrambling to find supplies.

RELATED: GSK resolving shortage of Nicorette Lozenges

This is just the latest in a series of deals that Avara has made since its 2015 to pick up unwanted plants from Big Pharma. In August it said it had struck a deal with Pfizer to buy a former Hospira sterile manufacturing plant in Liscate, Italy. And that followed deals to buy a small-molecule active pharmaceutical (API) plant from UCB early last year and agreements for the U.S. manufacturing operations of Japan’s Astellas as well as an API plant in the U.K. that AstraZeneca was set to close.