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GSK to sell US rights to Wellbutrin XL

GSK has entered into an agreement with Biovail for the sale of full commercial rights in the US to the anti-depressant Wellbutrin XL

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has entered into an agreement with Biovail International Laboratories for the sale of full commercial rights in the US to the anti-depressant Wellbutrin XL.

The deal, which is subject to antitrust regulatory clearance in the US, is worth £340m ($510m). Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will transfer the US New Drug Application and license the Wellbutrin XL trademark to Biovail, the drug's developers, for use in the US. Rights to market the medication outside of the US (excluding Canada), where Q1 2009 sales were £7m, will remain with GSK.

"We are actively reshaping our US business and managing the transition occurring in our product portfolio," said Deirdre Connelly, president of North American Pharmaceuticals at GSK. "This transaction is one of a series of actions we are taking to maximise the value of our current assets and to enable us to resource and invest in new products and upcoming launches."

Wellbutrin XL, which is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder, first came up against generic competition for its 300mg tablet at the end of 2006, and in the first half of 2008 for the 150mg tablet.

With US sales of the anti-depressant down 70 per cent to £45m in Q1 2009, GSK expects the divestment to result in a pre-tax gain of around £340m in Other Operating Income. For 2009, the company expects the total of Other Operating Income combined with profit from the disposal of interests in associates to be around £700m.

6th May 2009

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