Big investment in developing markets, a new joint venture and a business on the block

This week has started with a lot of 'word on the street' news of deals rather than big news releases from the companies involved, and some of the players involved in the latest wheeling-and- dealing are GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Claris

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This week has started with a lot of "word on thestreet" news of deals rather than big news releases from the companiesinvolved, and some of the players involved in the latest wheeling-and-dealingare GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK), AstraZeneca PLC, Pfizer Inc. and ClarisLifesciences Ltd.
GSK's news comes in at the largest dollar amount,more than $1 billion to increase its stakes in its Indian and Nigerian consumerhealthcare arms. Unlike some of the other deals making the round amongmarket-watchers, there were news releases about both the effort in India andthe one in Nigeria. However, what the news releases don't emphasize but theword on the street and reports in media outlets—Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC among them—doemphasize is that the planned investment is to deepen GSK's footprint both in emergingmarkets and non-prescription consumer health products in order to reducing thecompany's reliance on traditional regulated markets in Western economies, wheresales have been dropping off.
The plans call for GSK to raise the stake in itsNigerian consumer products unit from 46.4 percent to 80 percent in a $98million deal. Much larger is the Indian component of the plan, in which GSK plansto spend $940 million to bring its stake up from 43.2 percent to 75percent.
The Claris scuttlebutt is also significant, thoughmore for the dollar amount than the name recognition of the company, as the Ahmedabad,India-based company is reportedly in preliminary talks with Japanese companyOtsuka Pharma to selling its injectables business for somewhere in the range of$250 million to $300 million. That speculation comes through the Economic Times based on statement by aperson said to be "close to the development."
Also not showing up in the respective companies'website media releases is news—coming out of Canada's Financial Post and CBC news—that AstraZeneca and Pfizer arepartnering with the Quebec government on what they're calling "a new approachto drug development as a public-private partnership." Reportedly, the twocompanies will, along with Quebec, create the Neomed Institute, a new life-sciencesresearch facility in Montreal that will play home to researchers, university officials,employees from the two pharmas and venture capitalists.
The three partners are reported to be spending$100 million on the Canadian joint venture, which is aimed at bridging the gapbetween early-stage research and later-stage drug development.

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