Swiss drugmaker Novartis has announced a major shake-up which includes swapping assets with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and selling its animal medicines division.
Novartis said it was simplifying its business and increasing its focus on anti-cancer medicines, which bring in higher profit.
The overhaul is partly in reaction to cut-backs on health spending by cash-strapped governments.
Novartis said it had agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology products for $14.5 billion (10.4 billion euros), while selling to GSK its vaccines, excluding flu, for $7.1 billion (5.14 billion euros) plus royalties and creating a joint venture with GSK in consumer healthcare.
Novartis has agreed to sell its animal health arm to Eli Lilly for approximately $5.4 billion (3.9 billion euros).
This is the latest in a flurry of deals among global pharmaceuticals firms – which include Pfizer’s reported interest in AstraZeneca.
Large companies are refocusing, as smaller ones seek greater scale.