Novartis to buy remaining Chiron shares in $5.1 billion deal
Some analysts perceive the move some as a prelude to more takeovers in the vaccines area amid growing concern over the spread of new diseases, including avian flu.
"Our plan is to turn around the Chiron vaccines business, which will require investments in R&D and manufacturing to increase quality and capacity, so that we can better meet customer demand and address public health needs," said Daniel Vasella, Novartis' chief executive. "Together with the dynamically growing diagnostics business, vaccines will form a new division, while biopharmaceuticals will be integrated into the existing pharmaceuticals business of Novartis,"
Chiron currently ranks fifth in the vaccines business with annual vaccine sales of $510 million. It is competing against rivals including GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Pasteur, Merck and Wyeth.