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British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has received approval from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its proposed acquisition of Novartis‘ vaccines business.

The acquisition excludes influenza vaccines, but will also create a consumer healthcare joint venture (JV) with Novartis.

The latest update follows GSK’s April announcement relating to its major three-part transaction with Novartis.

In April, Novartis signed a definitive agreement with GSK to acquire its oncology products and divest its vaccines business to GSK, as well as to create a new JV by combining their consumer divisions.

As part of the deal, Novartis will pay $14.5bn to GSK and up to $1.5bn contingent on a development milestone to acquire GSK’s oncology products. Novartis will have opt-in rights to GSK’s current and future oncology research and development pipeline.

"Novartis will pay $14.5bn to GSK and up to $1.5bn contingent on a development milestone to acquire GSK’s oncology products."

Novartis has agreed to sell its nicotine replacement therapy patch, Habitrol, to settle FTC’s anticompetitive charges regarding the JV with GSK.

GSK will control the JV and contribute, among other products, its nicotine patch business, as per the terms of the proposed JV agreement.

Novartis will own a 36.5% stake in the new JV and without the divestitures required by the proposed order, will continue to own the Habitrol business, which had US sales of $58m in 2013.

GSK noted that the nicotine patch business was to already be excluded from the proposed JV and it has been previously announced that an agreement was signed to divest the business to India-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

Subject to GSK shareholders and anti-trust approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015.

Image: GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in Brentford, London, England. Photo: courtesy of Maxwell Hamilton.