In an effort to expand its presence in China, Novartis ($NVS) has purchased an 85 percent majority stake of vaccine maker Zhejiang Tianyuan. The Chinese company produces flu, meningococcal, Japanese encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever vaccines and has several other products in various stages of development.
"This agreement combines the strength of our vaccines R&D strategy and pipeline with Tianyuan's deep knowledge of the vaccines market in China, enabling us to better deliver a broad range of vaccines to the Chinese people," said Andrin Oswald, head of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, said in a statement. "Our collaboration with Tianyuan marks an important step in our strategy and long-standing commitment to improve healthcare in China by delivering effective vaccines that prevent diseases."
China is the world's third largest vaccines market, with annual industry sales of more than $1 billion and expectations for sustained double-digit growth in the future, according to the statement.