Sun Pharma buys Australian GSK opiates business


India’s largest drug maker Sun Pharma announced on Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) to purchase its opiates business in Australia for an undisclosed amount.

Image credit: Sun Pharma website
Image credit: Sun Pharma website

GSK Opiates is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK Opiates, including related manufacturing sites in Latrobe (Tasmania) and Port Fairy (Victoria) and its portfolio products, along with inventory, will transfer to a subsidiary of Sun Pharma.

According to the joint press release issued by both companies, all employees from both sites will be offered employment by Sun Pharma.

“The transaction will allow GSK to simplify its operations in Australia and allow it to focus on delivering its innovative product portfolio that will be central to the company’s growth strategy in this country,” reads the press release.

Sun Pharma has 20 manufacturing sites in India, Bangladesh, the US, Mexico, Brazil, Israel and Hungary, and 14,000 employees worldwide.

GSK’s product portfolio consists of analgesics made from raw materials found in opium poppy plants.

“The Opiates business has been an important part of our Australian business for many years, but as our portfolio transitions, we believe now is the right time to hand this business over to someone else. Sun Pharma has an established footprint in this market and, with the addition of our highly skilled employees; I believe they are well-placed to take the business forward,” Steve Morris, General Manager, GSK Opiates, said.

“The global Opiates market holds good potential and the addition of GSK’s Opiates business will strengthen our positioning further. The acquisition is a part of our strategy towards building our portfolio of opiates and accessing strong capabilities in this segment,” said Iftach Seri, Executive Vice President of API business at Sun Pharma.

Australia’s poppy industry is the world’s largest legal supplier of pharmaceutical grade opiates for painkillers. GSK is one of three firms that control the crop and production in Tasmania, alongside Johnson & Johnson’s unit Tasmanian Alkaloids, and TPI Enterprises.

The transaction is part of GSK’s strategy to offload non-core businesses in Australia and focus on delivering innovative products.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but it is expected to close by August 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and requisite regulatory and other approvals.

GSK has also announced this week that it’s acquired Novartis’s global vaccines business for $5 billion and created a new healthcare joint venture with Novartis.