GlaxoSmithKline has signed what it calls “a transformational agreement” with South Africa’s Aspen and its Indian joint venture partner Strides Arcolabs to sell branded generics in emerging markets.

Under the terms of the collaboration, GSK is getting access to “a broad and diverse portfolio and future pipeline of branded pharmaceuticals” on a license and supply basis in countries across emerging markets. These products will be competitively sourced through access to low-cost manufacturing from Aspen and its partners, the UK-based major said.

GSK expects to be able to commercialise the first group of products selected from 2010 onwards, Aspen will continue to market these products in Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries. The latter will receive limited upfront payments to Aspen to cover any additional regulatory work required to file the products in various countries.

Chief executive Andrew Witty said that the deal “demonstrates our intention to catalyse GSK’s sales growth in emerging markets where growth in both population and economic prosperity is leading to increased demand for branded pharmaceuticals”. Emerging markets are forecast to grow by 13% - triple the rate in the West – and will account for 40% of growth in the worldwide pharmaceutical market by 2020, the firm said.

More details of the collaboration will be disclosed at noon (UK time) when GSK unveils its second-quarter financials.