GSK, Pfizer launch new HIV drug venture

The joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, Viiv, has officially opened up for business as a powerhouse developer of new HIV therapies. But analysts are wondering if Viiv has more to do with getting the two pharma giants out of the controversial therapeutic area than with ramping up new drugs for the lethal virus.

"By being 100 per cent dedicated to HIV, we will reach more patients and do much more than either company on its own, with more products, more reach and more focus," says CEO Dominique Limet, who can rely on £1.6 billion in annual revenue from the drugs it markets.

Glaxo starts out with 85 percent of the venture, a reflection of the drugs it had to offer. Pfizer's 15 percent gives it a stake in a new business that can accelerate its drug candidates for HIV at a time that the pharma giant is restructuring R&D. "This could well go down as one of the most innovative and important deals in pharma in the past 10 years," says UBS analyst Gbola Amusa. "This is an out-of-the-box way to handle industry's biggest issue: excess capacity."

- read the story from the Financial Times