Novartis has significantly extended its presence into the Chinese vaccine market with the acquisition of majority stake in Zhejiang Tianyuan.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, provides the company with an 85% stake in the business and is expected to facilitate the introduction of additional Novartis vaccines into China.

Tianyuan founder, chairman and CEO Ding Xiaohang said that the companies had already identified several joint development programmes that could be implemented in China over the next ten years, with the potential of launching key products responding to unmet medical needs in the mid-term.

The deal is also designed to align production processes and quality standards.

China is the world’s third largest vaccines market, with annual industry sales of more than $1bn.