Baxter backs away from vaccines with Vero tech sale to Nanotherapeutics

Baxter BioScience President Ludwig Hantson

Baxter ($BAX), prepping for a biopharma spinoff, has already revealed that vaccines won't figure into its plans going forward. And Monday, it took it second step to exit the space with a sale of its Vero technology and related assets.

The Deerfield, IL-based company has agreed to divest its Vero platform--cell-based vaccines production tech--to Florida's Nanotherapeutics for an undisclosed sum. With it will go a manufacturing facility in Bohumil, Czech Republic, as well as in-development vaccines for H5N1, H1N1 and seasonal influenza.

Nanotherapeutics will also pick up investigational vaccine programs for Ross River virus, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus as Baxter BioSciences--which will become new company Baxalta come 2015--pares down its focus to zero in on hematology, oncology and immunology.

The transaction provides "direct resources toward strategic priorities that will drive future growth,'' Ludwig Hantson, president of Baxter BioScience and future Baxalta CEO, said in a statement.

Baxter International headquarters in Deerfield, IL--FiercePharma file photo

Baxter has already made moves to exit the vaccines space, selling off its marketed vaccines portfolio--comprising meningitis C vaccine NeisVac-C and IMMUN/TicoVac, which protects against tick-borne encephalitis--to Pfizer ($PFE) in a $635 million deal that closed earlier this month. Pfizer, which had long been looking to bulk up its vaccines unit beyond its best-selling Prevnar franchise, was happy to take the lineup--which Baxter expected to tally about $300 million in 2014 revenue--off the company's hands.

Baxter isn't the first drugmaker to pull out of the vaccines sphere this year. In a multi-billion dollar asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Novartis ($NVS) agreed to ship the majority of its flailing vaccines business to England, latter inking a pact to sell the remaining flu lineup to Australia's CSL at a bargain price.

- read the release

Special Report: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of H1 2014 - GlaxoSmithKline Oncology/Novartis Vaccines (excluding flu)

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