Report: GSK has no plans to sell HIV unit

Pfizer's plans to undertake a strategic review and divest non-core assets has led to speculation that the GlaxoSmithKline/Pfizer HIV joint venture ViiV Healthcare could be in line for a spin-off. Not so, claims GSK chief Andrew Witty (photo) at the company's annual shareholder meeting. "There's nothing in the short term that we've got planned. We're very happy with what we've got at the moment and we're focused on making it work," noted the CEO, as quoted by Reuters.

ViiV was founded in late 2009 with 11 marketed products poised to generate about $2.4 billion in sales annually. Those profits are re-invested in the developer's pipeline of 17 experimental HIV drugs. Five candidates are in mid- or late-stage trials; GSK1349572 is the most advanced of those drugs. GSK owns 85 percent of the joint venture.

Analysts note an independent ViiV would be well-positioned to take on HIV market leader Gilead Sciences. And although Witty said he has no immediate plans to divest the company, he's remains "open-minded" about a future spin-off. "Let's see where we go in the future in terms of long-term corporate structure. Obviously, we've got all sorts of options."

- take a look at the Reuters article

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