GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, two of the world's largest pharmaceutical groups, are planning to combine their HIV drugs businesses into a new company, GSK said Thursday.
The new combined company will sell 11 existing drugs produced by the two firms, holding a 19 percent share of the market and generating annual sales of about 1.6 billion pounds (1.8 billion euros, 2.4 billion dollars), Britain-based GSK said.
Initially controlled 85 percent by GSK and 15 percent by Pfizer, it will also focus on research and development of new HIV treatments and formulations, including developing six new drugs already in the pipeline.
"We are creating a new global leader in HIV and reaffirming our ongoing commitment to the treatment of the disease," said Pfizer chief Jeff Kindler.
GSK chief executive Andrew Witty said the agreement marked a "definitive step" to deliver more medicines, more efficiently.
"At the core of this specialist business is a broad portfolio of products and pipeline assets, which can be more effectively leveraged through the new company's strong revenue base and dedicated research capability," he said.
"HIV remains a global threat with increasing incidence and viral resistance. This new company will be better placed to meet these challenges and improve access to treatments."