GSK boosts China presence with flu vaccine buyout

GlaxoSmithKline has shelled out $37.8 million to purchase the remaining stake it didn't already own in its joint venture Shenzhen GSK-Neptunus Biologicals. The British drugmaker first established the pact with China's Shenzhen Neptunus Interlong Bio-Technique in 2009 and later expanded its share to 49% of the joint venture. According to a Telegraph report, GSK always intended to eventually gain full control of the company.

"The decision to acquire the remaining equity interest in GSKNB reflects the importance GSK places in expanding our product offering in China and making new vaccines available to improve public health in this fast growing emerging market," Jean Stephenne, GSK Biologicals' chairman and president, said in a statement. "GSKNB employees have made good progress preparing the site for the production of influenza vaccines and we look forward to continuing this work."

Matrix analyst Navid Malik told the Telegraph that China represents the world's third largest vaccine market, yet remains largely untapped by Big Pharma. The country's vaccine market is expected to experience double-digit growth in coming years.

- here's GSK's release
- read the Telegraph report