GlaxoSmithKline has signed an agreement with Daiichi Sankyo to form a joint venture which the firms say will create the number one vaccines company in Japan.

The new entity, to be named Japan Vaccine Co, will see the two companies sell their respective vaccines to the JV at agreed upon, yet undisclosed, prices. These include GSK's Cervarix for human papillomavirus and Rotarix for rotavirus, plus vaccines for flu, mumps, diphtheria pertussis and measles rubella.

The partners will have an equal stake in the JV and will split profits 50/50 with a portion going toward funding ongoing capital needs. They are also putting in 50 million yen (about £400,000) each to cover start-up costs.

Christophe Weber, president-designate of GSK Vaccines, said the collaboration "marks another step in our strategy to build our presence in key growth markets and will create the first and largest company dedicated solely to vaccines in Japan". He adds that setting up the JV "will create further significant economies of scale in the development and distribution of vaccines in the Japanese market".

The transaction is expected to be completed by the third quarter.

EC anti-competition probe dropped

Meantime, the European Commission says that an antitrust case involving GSK "has been administratively closed".

Few details have been disclosed by the Commission but Reuters reports that an investigation has been closed after Synthon, which was involved in a long-running battle with GSK over generic competition to the anti-depressant Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine), withdrew its complaint.

The news agency quotes the Commission as saying that it examined whether there may have been violation of EU competition law by GSK and had focused on possible abuse of "a dominant position and/or entering into anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices in order to delay or exclude generic competition".

The move comes just after the Commission dropped probes into AstraZeneca and Takeda’s Nycomed unit.