GSK to buy Bristol's Pakistani group

GlaxoSmithKline is continuing its march toward emerging markets with an agreement to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb's operations in Pakistan. Glaxo will fork over about $36.5 million for BMS Pakistan and some of its trademarks; the buyout covers more than 30 established branded meds, including antibiotics, vitamins and dermatology products. Glaxo says the Bristol meds are complimentary to its own portfolio of drugs sold in Pakistan. Sales of the Bristol meds amounted to $19 million last year.

In the realm of pharma buyouts, it's a small deal, but as an advancement of Glaxo's new business strategies, it's more significant. CEO Andrew Witty (photo) has pegged a chunk of the company's growth to expansion in emerging markets such as Pakistan and the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, India and China. "We are continuing to make investments in emerging markets, to grow and diversify GSK's business," Abbas Hussain, emerging markets president, told the Associated Press. "This acquisition reinforces our commitment to Pakistan, broadening our product portfolio and helping us to meet the needs of patients."

What does the deal say, on the other hand, about Bristol? That it's pursuing its own previously announced strategy: refocusing on biotech and specialty drugs. In announcing its restructuring last year, the company said it would be whittling away on its portfolio of mature drugs to focus more on specialty meds and biologics. Apparently, this is part of that whittling.

- read more emerging markets news
- see the AP story