Scientist discussion

Why our transaction with Novartis is different

With a trend towards consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, there have been a number of large scale mergers and acquisitions (M&A) over the past several years. But what makes GSK’s recently completed transaction with Novartis different?


What we have achieved is an asset swap which allows both companies to build on their existing strengths while at the same time creating significant value for GSK assets which we have built up over time. Transactions like this are incredibly complicated to execute, but when you do, it can have tremendous benefits for the business and for patients and consumers.

David Redfern, Chief Strategy Officer

What we have done

  • First, we have acquired Novartis’s vaccines business, excluding influenza vaccines. This further strengthens our position as the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer expanding our portfolio in meningitis, building our geographic reach particularly in the US, and bringing together expertise in virology and bacterial infection research.
  • Second, we have combined our Consumer Healthcare businesses to create a new joint venture Consumer Healthcare company. This new business is now a market leader in more than 30 countries as well as being the number one company worldwide for over-the-counter medicines. Some of our key brands now include: SensodyneVoltaren,Theraflu,Panadol,Otrivin,Horlicks,Zovirax & Abreva.
  • Finally, we have sold our marketed Oncology portfolio and the R&D activities related to it, to Novartis. While this is a fast-growing business for us, we were able to realize significant value and we believe that because Novartis is a more established Oncology company they will be able to broaden patient access to these important medicines.


Each portion of this transaction fulfils our strategy of creating a simpler, stronger and more balanced platform for long-term growth across our three core businesses: Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Healthcare and Vaccines. More importantly, the transaction enables us to deliver far-reaching benefits to patients and consumers by bringing both companies’ portfolios of vaccines and consumer healthcare products to more people in more geographies.

What next?

There is a significant amount of work that now needs to be done to integrate the Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare businesses which is our focus for the immediate future.

We are bringing 12,000 people with talent and expertise from Novartis into our Vaccines business and new Consumer Healthcare company.

We will work to complete the integration as quickly and as smoothly as possible and to maintain ‘business as usual’ wherever we can.

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