GlaxoSmithKline is set to pay around $1.65bn for privately-held US group Reliant Pharmaceuticals.
The deal gives GSK access to the latter’s heart disease drug Lovaza.
Reliant focuses on the development of specialist cardiovascular illness medicines but GSK’s interest in the firm was reportedly for its flagship drug, the omega 3-based Lovaza (omega-3-acid ethyl esters; formerly known as Omacor) which, since its launch at the end of 2005 for the control of triglycerides, is steadily growing in popularity.
The drug pulled in net sales of $206m during the last nine-month period, marking an increase of 115% from the same period in 2006 and, according to the company, currently holds a 10% share of the non-statin segment of the US cardiovascular sector.
The market generated revenues of around $2.2bn last year, but GSK pointed out that it was expected to grow by at least 20% annually, and that “there is significant opportunity for future growth of Lovaza in this market segment”.
“The addition of Lovaza to the GSK portfolio adds a new driver of sales growth in the US business. It represents a strong strategic fit, complementing Coreg CR, a leading treatment for heart failure and hypertension, and adds to our growing profile in the cardiovascular disease area,” said Chris Viehbacher, President, US Pharmaceuticals, GSK.