Vaccine venture

GlaxoSmithKline has formed a joint venture with Shenzhen Neptunus Interlong Bio-Technique that will develop and manufacture influenza vaccines for the Chinese market.


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has formed a joint venture with Shenzhen Neptunus that will develop and manufacture influenza vaccines for the Chinese market, including Hong Kong and Macau.



The joint venture, with access to specific local influenza antigens, aims to create vaccines for seasonal, pre-pandemic and pandemic influenza. It is expected that these vaccines will become available over the next few years.



GSK will provide access to its proprietary adjuvant system, which the company says helps to improve efficiency and optimise production by increasing the number of vaccine doses that can be produced using a smaller amount of antigen.



Shenzhen Neptunus will provide additional local manufacturing capacity and R&D expertise. Both companies will provide further investment in manufacturing.



GSK will take a 40 per cent stake in the joint venture for a contribution of cash and assets equivalent to £21m. Shenzhen Neptunus will take a 60 per cent stake for a contribution of cash and assets equivalent to £31m.



Under the terms of the agreement, GSK is expected to purchase additional shares and obtain a majority equity interest in the joint venture within the next two years.



Completion of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter of 2009, subject to local regulatory approval.