Company: GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)
Investment: ~$63 million
Themes: Vaccines and joint ventures
The experience of GlaxoSmithKline shows one possible scenario for the joint ventures set up by Pfizer and other Big Pharma players. GSK formed a vaccine venture with a $34 million investment in 2009. At that stage GSK owned 40% of the business, with its Chinese partner, Shenzhen Neptunus Interlong Bio-Technique, controlling the rest. GSK upped its stake to 49% in 2010 and bought out the remaining 51% a year later.
Taking this stepwise approach to setting up a vaccine manufacturing operation in China allowed GSK to test the waters while benefiting from the local knowledge of its partner. After getting the joint venture off the ground, the British drugmaker moved quickly to take total control. Having become the sole owner of the pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccine business, GSK plans to invest in local production capacity.
"GSK has licensed more vaccines in China than any other global manufacturer and has packaged more than 100 million vaccines at our Shanghai facility. [The buyout] represents an expansion of GSK's long-term commitment to vaccine supply, manufacturing and development in China," GSK VP John Lepore said last year in a company statement.