Novartis has reached an agreement to acquire an 85% stake in the Chinese vaccines company Zhejiang Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co, as part of a strategic initiative to build a vaccines industry leader in this country and expand the Group’s limited presence in this fast-growing market segment. This proposed acquisition will require government and regulatory approvals in China.
Tianyuan is a privately-owned vaccine company offering a range of marketed vaccine products in China and R&D projects focused on various preventable viral and bacterial diseases. Tianyuan has been delivering dynamic and profitable growth, having more than doubled its net sales to approximately $25 million in 2008 compared to 2006.
“Novartis has a long-standing commitment to improving healthcare in China. Our future activities with Tianyuan are an important step in our strategy to enhance the prevention of diseases in China with high-quality products,” said Dr Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis.
“The leadership and associates of Tianyuan share with Novartis the same ambition of offering a broad range of vaccines that can prevent many potentially deadly diseases and greatly improve quality of life.”
As part of the collaboration, the two companies will work together to expand Tianyuan’s product portfolio and R&D pipeline through targeted investments in vaccines innovation, manufacturing technologies and commercial networks. This collaboration is also expected to facilitate the introduction of Novartis vaccines into China, where Novartis currently has a limited presence with an offering of vaccines against influenza and rabies.
“Our mission is “To build the Great Wall of Health for the people.” I personally look forward to working with Novartis to continue our mission by bringing more innovative vaccines to China and building Tianyuan into a true international vaccines company,” said Mr Ding Xiaohang, who is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Tianyuan and will continue to lead this business while holding a minority stake.
China is the world’s third largest vaccines market, with annual industry sales of more than $1 billion and expectations for sustained double-digit growth in the future given the government’s commitment to improve access to quality healthcare.