GlaxoSmithKline Plc has agreed to sell the US rights to the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL to its Canadian partner Biovail Corp for $510 million, the world’s second-biggest drugmaker said on Wednesday.
The move reflects a “reshaping” of Glaxo’s US business, which is going through a major transition as older medicines face generic competition, it added.
Wellbutrin XL has had to compete with cheap generic rivals since the end of 2006 for the 300 mg tablet and since the second quarter of 2008 for the 150 mg tablet. As a result, its US sales in the first quarter of 2009 fell 70 per cent to 45 million pounds.
Glaxo expects to record a pretax gain of about 340 million pounds ($513 million) in other operating income from the sale and now forecasts a combined total of other operating income and profits on disposals to be around 700 million pounds in 2009.
The British company will keep its existing rights to Wellbutrin XL for countries outside the United States, excluding Canada. Non-US sales of the product amounted to just 7 million pounds in the first quarter.
Wellbutrin XL was originally developed by Biovail and has been distributed by Glaxo in the United States since 2003.