Glaxo Arm Signs HIV Toll Deal for China

06.07.2015 -

ViiV Healthcare, the HIV unit of GlaxoSmithKline, has signed an agreement with Shanghai-based Desano Pharmaceuticals under which the Chinese group will produce the active ingredient for the British company’s dolutegravir, sold under the trade name Tivicay.

The deal supports a move by the international pharmaceutical industry to widen access to HIV drugs in China and other developing countries at competitive prices. Observers said it is also a sign that the GSK is seeking to rebuild its presence in the country in the wake of a corruption scandal that saw executives pay fines for bribery.

Strong sales growth in HIV medicines, especially Tivicay, has been a rare bright spot for GSK, which in May scrapped plans for a partial spin-off of ViiV, notes the British business news daily, Financial Times.

Tivicay, forecast to reach peak annual sales of up to £1.8 billion by 2020, is one of the latest generation of antiretroviral drugs that have helped significantly extend life expectancy but have not been widely available in some countries due to the high price.

ViiV is owned to 80% by GSK along with Pfizer of the US and Shionogi of Japan. While the current agreement covers only the active ingredient, the GSK arm is said to be exploring options for Desano to produce finished products.