Rumor: GSK close to deal for Shantha Biotech

India's Economic Times is reporting that GlaxoSmithKline is nearing a deal to purchase India's Shantha Biotech. Sanofi-Aventis, which was also said to be eyeing the company, has dropped out of the running, according to two sources close to the matter. The company was not interested enough in Shantha's product portfolio to continue negotiations.

GlaxoSmithKline is said to be purchasing at least a 51 percent stake in the company. It's negotiating with France's Merieux Alliance, which bought a controlling share of Shantha in 2006. "Only a few matters relating to the valuation need to be finalized," said the Economic Times' source. The deal could be worth upwards of $200 million.

Shantha Biotech is the first Indian company to develop, manufacture and market a recombinant human healthcare product in India. Shantha is developing generic biologicals, therapeutic antibodies, proteins and vaccines in the fields of oncology, infectious diseases and platform technologies.

- see the report for more