GSK to sell auto-immune drug to Novartis for up to US$1bn

Novartis will also pay royalties to GSK of up to 12% on any future sales of ofatumumab in auto-immune indications

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to sell its rights in ofatumumab for auto-immune indications, including multiple sclerosis, to Novartis Pharma.

The Swiss firm previously acquired the oncology indications for ofatumumab (Arzerra) as part of a three-part transaction between GSK and Novartis that was finalised earlier this year. After the recent completion of the deal, Novartis Pharma will own rights to ofatumumab in all indications.

Under the deal, Novartis will pay GSK $300m upfront for ofatumumab; $200m subject to the start of a Phase III study in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis by Novartis; and up to $534m payable on the achievement of certain other development milestones.

Novartis Pharma will also pay royalties of up to 12% to GSK on any future net sales of ofatumumab in MS and any other auto-immune indications.

We are pleased to have completed this transaction to divest the remaining rights in ofatumumab

David Redfern, Chief Strategy Officer at GSK, said: 'We are pleased to have completed this transaction to divest the remaining rights in ofatumumab, crystallising significant additional value for GSK shareholders.

'We continue to focus on progressing our pipeline in core therapy areas including HIV, oncology, vaccines, cardiovascular, immuno-inflammation and respiratory diseases.

'We believe GSK’s pipeline has significant potential to drive long-term performance for the Group and will be profiling it further at our R&D event in November.'

The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2015.