Drugmaker GSK takes control of Chinese venture

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British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy out its partner in a Chinese vaccines joint venture for £24 million (US$39 million, 27 million euros).

GSK said that it had agreed to acquire the 51-percent interest of Shenzhen Neptunus in the joint venture company, Shenzhen GSK-Neptunus Biologicals Co. Ltd. (GSKNB).

"After approval of this agreement by the Peoples Republic of China authorities, GSK will become the sole owner of GSKNB," a statement said.

The London-listed pharmaceuticals giant, under the leadership of chief executive Andrew Witty, is seeking to increase its exposure to fast-growing emerging markets.

"The decision to acquire the outstanding interest ... reflects GSK's intention to further expand its vaccines presence in China through the establishment of local vaccine manufacturing capability," the firm added.

The GSKNB joint venture was created in June 2009 and focuses on the development and manufacture of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines for China, Hong Kong and Macau.

GSK raised its stake from 40 percent to 49 percent last year.

© 2011 AFP

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