Glaxo Revives Sale of Some Antibiotic Treatments

(Bloomberg) -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc is rekindling efforts to sell part of its antibiotics business, as the U.K. drugmaker prunes its portfolio to focus more on areas such as cancer, people familiar with the matter said.

Glaxo is working with financial advisers on the potential divestment of its business making antibiotics called cephalosporins, including the Zinnat and Fortum brands, the people said. The portfolio could fetch several hundred million U.S. dollars, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

The drugs generate about $200 million in annual revenue, according to the people. Glaxo has started sounding out potential buyers including other antiobiotic makers as well as investment funds, the people said.

Glaxo unsuccessfully tried to unload the treatments about two years ago, Bloomberg News has reported. Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. A spokesman for Glaxo declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley is betting on lucrative areas such as cancer and divesting older treatments in a bid to strengthen the company’s pharmaceutical business. She has also overseen the creation of a consumer-health joint venture with Pfizer Inc. that paves the way for a split into two companies.

Glaxo agreed in February to sell 15 consumer brands to German drugmaker Stada Arzneimittel AG for more than 300 million euros ($329 million), people familiar with the matter said at the time. It is also conducting a strategic review of prescription dermatology medicines.

Glaxo’s other antibiotic assets include the widely-prescribed Augmentin as well as gepotidacin, an experimental treatment for gonorrhea and urinary tract infections that moved into late-stage trials last year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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