Glaxo grabs Bristol's Middle East unit

It's another generics-in-emerging-markets deal for GlaxoSmithKline. The drugmaker has snapped up Bristol-Myers Squibb's branded generics biz in the Middle East--Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Lybia and Yemen, to be exact. The size of the deal isn't large, just $23.2 million, but it further underscores Glaxo's new strategy of hawking cheaper meds in developing countries. Already the company has bought portfolios of products from BMS in Pakistan and Egypt, and it inked collaboration deals with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and South Africa's Aspen.

Glaxo chief Andrew Witty has made headlines with his push toward emerging markets and generics, as well as his commitment to cut prices in poorer nations--a move intended to offer more drugs to more people at a lesser cost, sure, but also a strategy for boosting sales on volume rather than on price. Just this week, the company's Asia Pacific exec predicted sales in that region would double over the next five years.

Of course, Glaxo isn't alone in its new love for the up-and-coming drug markets of the world. Sanofi-Aventis has been quite active in buying drugs and drugmakers in developing nations, and other Big Pharma firms are targeting China, India, Brazil--any market pegged to grow more quickly than the stagnating U.S. and Europe.

- see the GSK release
- read the news from Reuters