GSK, Daiichi Sankyo aim to top Japan's vaccine market

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Daiichi Sankyo have signed a joint venture agreement to create what GSK believes will be the largest vaccines company in Japan. The agreement is expected to complete in the third quarter, and the joint venture will be known as Japan Vaccine.

The vaccine market in Japan was worth around ¥140 billion ($1.72 billion) in 2010, according to Nikkei via Reuters, and is somewhat underexploited. The collaboration will combine GSK's global expertise and reach--and its vaccines pipeline--with domestic resources from Daiichi Sankyo, Japan's third-largest pharmaceuticals company.

The joint venture will take over the rights to both companies' prophylactic vaccines, as well as developing and marketing new vaccines. Japan Vaccine will be funded through an initial investment of ¥100 million (about $1.2 million), with a proportion of vaccine sales going to fund ongoing capital needs. Profits from sales will be split 50/50.

Christophe Weber, president designate of GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, commented: "This collaboration marks another step in our strategy to build our presence in key growth markets and will create the first and largest company dedicated solely to vaccines in Japan. We are very pleased to be partnering with Daiichi Sankyo, a highly regarded company and an established leader in Japan. Both companies have strong track records in commercialization and, in combination, will create further significant economies of scale in the development and distribution of vaccines in the Japanese market."

- read the press release from GSK
- see the press release from Daiichi Sankyo
- check out the article in the U.K. Independent
- read the article from Reuters

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