Pfizer to acquire GlaxoSmithKline meningitis vaccines for $130M

In a move to allay antitrust concerns, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is selling two of its meningitis vaccines to Big Pharma peer Pfizer ($PFE). The move comes after Glaxo acquired the bulk of Novartis' ($NVS) vaccines portfolio, which catapulted it to the No. 1 spot in the global vaccines market.

GSK announced on Monday that it would sell two of its older meningitis vaccines, Nimenrix and Mencevax, to Pfizer for a total of $130 million. The vaccines are both marketed outside the U.S., Nimenrix in 61 countries and Mencevax in 79. Both are quadrivalent vaccines targeting the A, C, Y and W-135 strains of meningitis. According to Reuters, the two vaccines had combined sales last year of £34 million ($54 million).

The acquisition will expand Pfizer's reach in the meningitis space, complementing its Trumenba, which targets meningitis B, as well as NeisVac-C, which it acquired from Baxter ($BAX) in 2014.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, and Pfizer does not expect it to have an impact on its 2015 financials, the company said in a statement.

"The addition of Nimenrix and Mencevax is an important milestone for Pfizer Vaccines. Adding these two innovative and complementary vaccines to our current portfolio will allow us to more completely respond to meningococcal disease outbreaks as well as proactively address a critical public health need--the prevention of meningococcal disease across all ages," said Susan Silbermann, President, Pfizer Vaccines, in the statement.

While GSK handed over Nimenrix and Mencevax, it held onto Bexsero, a meningitis B vaccine that was approved by the FDA in 2014, the same year Pfizer's Trumenba was approved. The company is working with the United Kingdom's Department of Health to provide Bexsero as a routine vaccination for children. England and Scotland will be the first countries to offer meningitis B as a routine vaccination, but the U.S. may not be far behind. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will vote on Wednesday to determine how broadly it will recommend meningitis B vaccines for teens and adults.

- here's the release
- read more from Reuters

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