South Africa's Aspen expands reach with $100M buy of Sandoz's Chinese business

South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare is growing its global footprint with a new agreement, worth up to 92.6 million euros ($100.3 million), to buy Sandoz’s China operations.

The deal includes commercialization rights to a portfolio of Sandoz brands, including the synthetic hormone injectable Sandostatin, osteoporosis med Aclasta and fungal infection treatment Voriconazole, along with Sandoz’s Chinese pipeline.

Under the deal terms, 18.5 million euros of the sum is contingent upon the potential commercial performance of Sandoz’s pipeline products.

“Sandoz’s product portfolio, pipeline, well-established infrastructure, and experienced team, will expand Aspen’s footprint and capabilities in the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market, and further strengthen our foundation for future growth in China,” Aspen's CEO Stephen Saad said in the company’s recent release.

The company expects the move to add some 1.8 billion South African rand ($95.89 million) in annual sales.

Through a separate Aspen deal, Sandoz is scooping up rights to four of Aspen’s anesthetic products that Aspen currently sells in Europe. Sandoz will shell out up to 55.5 million euros ($60 million) for the collection of drugs. The meds brought in 280 million South African rand ($14.89 million) for Aspen in its latest financial year, which ended in June 2023.

The trade-off comes after Sandoz purchased Aspen’s Japanese business in 2019 for up to 400 million euros ($442 million). Sandoz got its hands on about 20 off-patent drugs through that deal, most of which were anesthetics and specialty brands that served to strengthen the company’s existing hospital generic and biosimilar pipeline and grow its reach in Japan’s hospital channel, the company said at the time.

Since then, Sandoz has split from its former parent company, the Swiss drug giant Novartis.

As for Aspen, the drugmaker made a global name for itself when it secured a license to distribute, price and brand Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shot in Africa. But the deal turned into a disappointment due to a lack of demand for the vaccine.