NEW YORK (The Deal) -- The battle against cancer has taken on a financial dimension, with Novartis (NVS) agreeing to take a host of oncology drugs from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the largest of four multi-billion transactions by the Swiss company, and Pfizer (PFE) reportedly missing out in a run for AstraZeneca (AZN) cancer treatments.
Novartis, of Basel, on Tuesday agreed to pay up to $16 billion for Uxbridge, England-based GlaxoSmithKline's oncology portfolio. The figure includes as much as $1.5 billion depending on the development of some medicines and also gives Novartis first rights to the U.K. company's oncology pipeline.
The Swiss company will also sell its vaccine unit, minus flu vaccinations, to GlaxoSmithKline for as much as $7.1 billion, including $5.25 billion immediately and up to $1.8 billion in development milestones.
Novartis said it will launch a separate auction for the flu activities.
"The transactions mark a transformational moment for Novartis. They focus the company on leading businesses with innovation power and global scale," said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez in a statement.
Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline will also pool their over-the-counter medicine activities in to a joint venture that will be 36.5% owned by Novartis and make GlaxoSmithKline a consumer healthcare bulwark.
Finally, Novartis will sell its animal health business to Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly (LLY) for $5.4 billion.
The transactions follow Jimenez' promise last year to take a hard look at the company's smaller businesses.