GlaxoSmithKline is continuing with its strategy of expanding in the emerging markets and has acquired the branded generics business of Bristol-Myers Squibb in five Middle East countries.

GSK is paying out £23.2 million to get hold of part of B-MS’ operations in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. The business comprises a portfolio of 13 branded pharmaceuticals with sales in 2008 reaching $11.8 million, the UK drug major noted.

The company said the deal “is another step forward in GSK’s strategy to accelerate growth in emerging markets and signals a strong commitment to provide quality medicines to patients in the Middle East and North Africa”. Last year it pocketed the Egyptian mature products business from B-MS and its operations in Pakistan.

The latter deal included “a high quality manufacturing plant in Giza, Greater Cairo”, and GSK noted that B-MS will continue to supply the products acquired today until 2011. Thereafter, manufacturing will transfer to the Giza plant.

The agreement comes just a month after GSK signed a deal with Dr Reddy’s, getting exclusive access to the Indian drugmaker’s “rich and diverse” portfolio and future pipeline comprising more than 100 branded pharmaceuticals across therapeutic areas such as diabetes, cancer and pain management. The Dr Reddy’s deal will see the firm manufacture products licensed and supplied by GSK in countries such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America, but not India.

Also in June, GSK signed a deal with Shenzhen Neptunus to manufacture influenza vaccines for the Chinese market and a month earlier bought a 15% stake in South African group Aspen Pharmacare Holdings. In January, it acquired UCB’s product portfolio in a number of Asian Pacific, African and Latin American countries as well as the Middle East,