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Glaxo Drops Bid for Pfizer Unit, Shingrix Gains EU/Japan Nod

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GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK - Free Report) has withdrawn from the race to buy Pfizer’s (PFE - Free Report) Consumer Healthcare segment.

Last October, Pfizer had said that it was exploring strategic alternatives for its Consumer Healthcare segment including a partial or a full separation through a spin-off, sale or other transaction. A decision regarding the same is expected to be made this year and it may ultimately opt to retain the business

Glaxo’s chief executive officer, Emma Walmsley said that management is interested in deals that will improve the company’s returns and not “compromise on its priorities for capital allocation”.

Pfizer is having a tough time finding a buyer for its Consumer Healthcare segment, Last week, British company Reckitt Benckiser Group also pulled out of the discussion with Pfizer to buy the latter’s Consumer Health segment. After, Reckitt Benckiser backed out, Glaxo was seen as the frontrunner to buy Pfizer’s unit.

Shares of Glaxo were up around 3.5% on Friday in response to this positive news. Glaxo’s stock has risen 7.3% this year so far, against a decline of 4.6% for the industry.

In a separate press release, Pfizer announced that its shingles vaccine, Shingrix has gained regulatory approval in Japan and EU. Please note that Shingrix was approved in the United States and Canada in October last year. Also, Shingrix enjoys preferential recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Last year, the ACIP recommended thepreferentialuse of Shingrix for prevention of shinglesover Merck’s (MRK - Free Report) Zostavax.

In yet another release, Glaxo announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of Europe has granted a positive opinion, recommending approval of Juluca,a two-drug regimen(dolutegravir and rilpivirine), once-daily, single pill for HIV.Juluca becomes the first two-drug pill to be approved in Europe. A final decision from the European Commission in the EU is expected toward the end of the second quarter.

Juluca was approved in the United States in November last year. Juluca has been developed by Glaxo and Pfizer’s HIV-focused company, ViiV Healthcare, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) .

Glaxo carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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