Pharmaceutical giants Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to exchange assets and combine their consumer healthcare units.
Novartis will acquire GSK’s oncology drugs business for $16 billion and sell its vaccines division, excluding the flu unit, to GSK for $7.1 billion.
In a separate deal, Novartis has agreed to sell its animal health division to Lilly for nearly $5.4 billion.
Novartis said the moves would help the company focus on its key businesses.
Novartis will acquire GSK’s oncology drugs business for $16 billion and sell its vaccines division, excluding the flu unit, to GSK for $7.1 billion
“The transactions mark a transformational moment for Novartis,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said in a statement.
“They also improve our financial strength, and are expected to add to our growth rates and margins immediately.”
The deals are a part of Novartis’s review of its business as it continues to face sluggish growth.
Novartis and GSK said that combining their over-the-counter (OTC) units would help boost the fortunes of both the companies.
The combined unit will have annual revenues of more than $10 billion.
“Opportunities to build greater scale and combine high quality assets in vaccines and consumer healthcare are scarce,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement.
“With this transaction, we will substantially strengthen two of our core businesses and create significant new options to increase value for shareholders.”
Glaxo shareholders will get a $6.5 billion capital return from the deal proceeds, the company said.
A new vaccine will give anyone who drinks even a small amount of alcohol an immediate and very heavy hangover.
Scientists from the University of Chile have spent a year designing the drug in a bid to tackle the growing problem of alcoholism in the country.
The vaccine, which would be effective for between six months and a year, works by sending a biochemical message to the liver telling it not to express genes that metabolize alcohol.
Normally, the liver turns alcohol into the hangover-causing compound called acetaldehyde which is then broken down by a metabolizing enzyme.
If someone who’s been vaccinated tries to drink alcohol, they will immediately experience severe nausea, accelerated heartbeat, and general discomfort.
Once the vaccine has been administered it cannot be reversed.
A preclinical trial using mice to determine the correct dosing is due to begin next month with researchers hoping to begin tests on human subjects in November.
A new vaccine will give anyone who drinks even a small amount of alcohol an immediate and very heavy hangover
Dr. Juan Asenjo, director of the university’s Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology said while the vaccine is not a cure-all, it could provide an important first step.
He told the Santiago Times newspaper: “People who end up alcoholic have a social problem; a personality problem because they’re shy, whatever, and then they are depressed, so it’s not so simple.
“But if we can solve the chemical, the basic part of the problem, I think it could help quite a bit.
“In Chile, according to the most recent 2011 study from the World Health Organization, one in 15 men have an alcohol use disorder. “
Dr. Juan Asenjo believes the vaccine has the potential to help millions of people worldwide.
He added: “If it works, it’s going to have a worldwide impact, but with many vaccines one has to test them carefully. I think the chances that this one will work are quite high.”
Inspiration for the vaccine came from the far East, said Dr. Juan Asenjo, where between 15 and 20 pwer cent of Japanese, Chinese or Koreans have a mutation which inhibits the breakdown of alcohol in their bodies.
The idea of using drugs to combat alcoholism is not new.
Disulfiram, which was developed almost a century ago works in a similar way blocking the enzyme from breaking down alcohol, thus intensifying the body’s negative response.
However, users often find the effects so unpleasant they simply stop taking the pills.
4CMenB, a vaccine to protect children against one of the most common and deadly forms of meningitis, has been approved for use in Europe.
The 4CMenB vaccine licensed by the European Commission is the first to cover meningococcal B meningitis – until now vaccines had protected against only some of the bacterial types involved.
About 1,870 people contract meningitis B each year and one in 10 die.
Now the product is licensed in EC countries and it could be bought and used by healthcare providers.
About a quarter of all survivors of meningitis B are left with life altering after-effects, such as brain damage or limb loss.
Children under the age of five are the most at risk from the bacterial infection, which leads to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Experts say the jab is likely to be effective against 73% of the different variations of meningitis B.
4CMenB, a vaccine to protect children against one of the most common and deadly forms of meningitis, has been approved for use in Europe
A vaccine against the less common meningitis C has been administered since 1999 and is now widely given to babies in the first year of their life.
It has led to a large fall in the number of cases in people under the age of 20.
- Inflammation of membranes covering brain and spinal cord
- It can be caused by viruses or bacteria
- Meningitis B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in Europe
- It can also cause septicaemia
- There are a number of vaccines that can prevent many cases of viral and bacterial meningitis, including MMR, Meningitis C, PCV and DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination
A breakthrough vaccine that dramatically reduces fat in the arteries has been developed for the prevention of heart attacks.
The new vaccine, which can be administered by injection or nasal spray, could be available within five years.
Current treatment involves medication that reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.
But the study by Lund University in Sweden is the first which has targeted the underlying cause of heart disease.
Prof. Peter Weissberg, the British Heart Foundation medical director, said the vaccine was “very promising”.
Fatty deposits can place great strain on the heart by narrowing the arteries and forcing it to pump far harder.
A breakthrough vaccine that dramatically reduces fat in the arteries has been developed for the prevention of heart attacks
This treatment works by stimulating the body’s immune system to produce antibodies which tackle this build-up.
In tests on mice, researchers found that it could reduce plaque by 60 to 70%, it was reported in the Daily Telegraph.
The resulting injection is waiting regulatory clearance to start clinical trials.
A second vaccine has been created as a nasal spray. A trial on 144 heart disease sufferers is under way in the U.S. and Canada.
But Prof. Jan Nilsson, professor of experimental cardiovascular research at Lund University, said it was unlikely that the drug would be administered like traditional vaccines in childhood.
“The antibody therapy in particularly is likely to be expensive, so you could probably only afford to give it to high-risk populations rather than everyone,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Different ways of administering the vaccine are being developed and could be licensed within five years, the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology conference at Imperial College London were told.