Company news: GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb

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GlaxoSmithKline continues to transfer its lesser-performing brands to Aspen Pharmaceuticals. GSK announced Wednesday that it is selling 25 brands that are sold in Australia to the South-Africa based company for $270 million in cash. Valtrex, Lamictal, Timentin and Amoxil will be among the brands being shuttled. GSK said in a statement it expects the deal to be finished by Q4 of this year, if approvals go through. The portfolio had sales of about $49 million for the first half of this year, and $130 million for all of 2011. Wednesday's deal follows the April 24 announcement that GSK was selling a slew of OTC drugs, including Zantac and Phillips MOM to Aspen for $265 million and a sale in 2011 to Prestige Brands Holdings. GSK has been on a mission to pare back some of its businesses. These deals will move under-performing brands off its balance sheets. “Today's announcement is an example of GSK's commitment to realize value and enhance returns to shareholders through the sale of low growth or non-core businesses,” the company said in a statement.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is taking a calibrated approach to the distribution of its chronic myeloid leukemia drug, Sprycel (dasatinib). The company announced Wednesday that it will funnel prescriptions through the specialty pharmacy market, which includes Accredo, CuraScript, Diplomat, Biologics and Avella, formerly known as the Apothecary Shops. The company said in a statement that the specialty channel is “uniquely positioned to provide support services to patients for oral oncology medications.” The company said it tapped these specialty outlets because of a “consumer-centric” approach that complemented BMS's patient programs. Specialty pharmacies, like Avella, often have staff that are assigned by specialty and have a network of professionals that often include registered nurses, case managers and counselors, as well as phone support.
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