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Novartis to expand its human vaccines presence in China through proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Zhejiang Tianyuan

Corporate news announcement processed and transmitted by Hugin AS.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this

* Tianyuan a privately-held vaccines company providing a
competitive product portfolio and pipeline in China, where
Novartis has a limited vaccines presence

* Tianyuan and Novartis to collaborate on building a vaccines
industry leader targeting unmet medical needs in China, the
world's third-largest vaccines market

* Acquisition of 85% stake in Tianyuan for approximately USD 125
million will require Chinese regulatory and government approvals

Basel, November 4, 2009 - Novartis has reached an agreement to
acquire an 85% stake in the Chinese vaccines company Zhejiang
Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. as part of a strategic
initiative to build a vaccines industry leader in this country and
expand the Group's limited presence in this fast-growing market
segment. This proposed acquisition will require government and
regulatory approvals in China.

Tianyuan is a privately-owned vaccine company offering a range of
marketed vaccine products in China and R&D projects focused on
various preventable viral and bacterial diseases. Tianyuan has been
delivering dynamic and profitable growth, having more than doubled
its net sales to approximately USD 25 million in 2008 compared to

"Novartis has a long-standing commitment to improving healthcare in
China. Our future activities with Tianyuan are an important step in
our strategy to enhance the prevention of diseases in China with
high-quality products," said Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of
Novartis. "The leadership and associates of Tianyuan share with
Novartis the same ambition of offering a broad range of vaccines that
can prevent many potentially deadly diseases and greatly improve
quality of life."

As part of the collaboration, the two companies will work together to
expand Tianyuan's product portfolio and R&D pipeline through targeted
investments in vaccines innovation, manufacturing technologies and
commercial networks. This collaboration is also expected to
facilitate the introduction of Novartis vaccines into China, where
Novartis currently has a limited presence with an offering of
vaccines against influenza and rabies.

"Our mission is 'To build the Great Wall of Health for the people.' I
personally look forward to working with Novartis to continue our
mission by bringing more innovative vaccines to China and building
Tianyuan into a true international vaccines company," said Mr. Ding
Xiaohang, who is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Tianyuan and will
continue to lead this business while holding a minority stake.

China is the world's third largest vaccines market, with annual
industry sales of more than USD 1 billion and expectations for
sustained double-digit growth in the future given the government's
commitment to improve access to quality healthcare.

Transaction terms
Novartis has signed a definitive agreement with the shareholders of
Zhejiang Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., to acquire an 85%
stake for approximately RMB 850 million (USD 125 million in cash).
The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including
receipt of government and regulatory approvals in China.

About Tianyuan
Zhejiang Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., which was founded as
a private enterprise by Mr. Ding Xiaohang, entered the Chinese
vaccines industry in 1994 with the first vaccine in China against
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) caused by hantaviruses.
Tianyuan has since become one of the country's leading private
manufacturers and distributors of vaccines with approximately 400
associates and an R&D/manufacturing site in Hangzhou (near Shanghai).

The foregoing release contains certain forward-looking statements
relating to the proposed acquisition of Novartis of a majority stake
in Zhejiang Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and to Novartis and
Tianyuan's respective businesses. Such forward looking statements are
not historical facts and can generally be identified by the use of
forward-looking terminology such as "to expand," "pipeline," "to
collaborate," "targeting," "will," "strategic," "commitment,"
"future," "strategy," "ambition," "potentially," "expected," "look
forward to," "expectations," or by express or implied discussions
regarding potential future regulatory approvals of the proposed
acquisition of a majority stake in Tianyuan by Novartis, or regarding
the potential new vaccine products, or regarding potential future
revenues from any such products, or potential future sales or
earnings of the Novartis Group or any of its divisions or of
Tianyuan; or by discussions of strategy, plans, expectations or
intentions or potential synergies, strategic benefits or
opportunities that may result from the proposed acquisition. You
should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such
forward-looking statements reflect the current plans, expectations,
objectives, intentions or views of Novartis with respect to future
events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other
factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from
any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied
by such statements. In particular, there can be no guarantee that the
proposed acquisition of Tianyuan by Novartis will obtain the required
government and regulatory approvals in China. Nor can there be any
guarantee that the proposed acquisition will be completed in the
expected form or within the expected time frame or at all. Neither
can there be any guarantee that Novartis will be able to realize any
of the potential synergies, strategic benefits or opportunities as a
result of the proposed acquisition. Nor can there be any guarantee
that any new products will be developed or approved for sale in any
market. Neither can there be any guarantee that Novartis or Tianyuan
will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. Among
other things, the expectations of Novartis could be affected by
unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation
generally; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected
new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing
clinical data; the company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or
other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in
general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures;
the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values
attributed to the Novartis Group's assets and liabilities as recorded
in the Group's consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and
factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with
the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of
these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying
assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from
those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is
providing the information in this press release as of this date and
does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking
statements contained in this press release as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving
needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare,
Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs:
innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive
vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is
the only company with leading positions in each of these areas. In
2008, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD
41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2
billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ
approximately 99,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in
more than 140 countries around the world. For more information,
please visit http://www.novartis.com.

# # #

Novartis Media Relations

Central media line : +41 61 324 2200
Eric Althoff
Novartis Global Media Relations
+41 61 324 7999 (direct)
+41 79 593 4202 (mobile)

e-mail: media.relations@novartis.com

Novartis Investor Relations

Central phone: +41 61 324
Ruth Metzler-Arnold +41 61 324 North America:
Pierre-Michel Bringer +41 61 324 Richard Jarvis +1 212 830
1065 2433
John Gilardi +41 61 324 Jill Pozarek +1 212 830
3018 2445
Thomas Hungerbuehler +41 61 324 Edwin Valeriano +1 212 830
8425 2456
Isabella Zinck +41 61 324

e-mail: e-mail:
investor.relations@novartis.com investor.relations@novartis.com

--- End of Message ---

Novartis International AG
Posfach Basel

WKN: 904278; ISIN:
CH0012005267; Index: SLCI, SMI, SPI, SLIFE;
Listed: Main Market in SIX Swiss Exchange, ZLS in BX Berne eXchange;
Copyright © Hugin AS 2009. All rights reserved.

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