GlaxoSmithKline has completed the extension of its strategic relationship with Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, giving it a 19% stake in South Africa’s largest generics drugmaker.

This is up from the 16% holding that GSK had originally expected to have when the deal was announced in May. Since then, the amount of shares it has acquired has risen from 68.5 million to 81.7 million.

Increasing its stake is part of a wide-ranging agreement which includes combining the firms’ commercial activities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the divestment of several assets to Aspen. The latter includes GSK’s manufacturing plant in Bad Oldesloe, Germany and eight specialist medicines.

The companies also noted that Abbas Hussain, GSK’s president of emerging markets will be appointed to Aspen’s board as a non-executive director. The link-up with Aspen forms a major part of GSK’s new diversification strategy, part of which involves increasing its presence in the branded generics sector.

Rotarix filed in Japan
Meantime GSK also noted that it has filed for approval in Japan of its Rotarix vaccine. The treatment which is given orally, prevents rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants and is the first such vaccine to be submitted for approval in Japan, ahead of Merck & Co’s rival product RotaTeq.

Olympic doping pact
The drugs giant has also signed up as a sponsor for the London 2012 Olympics and will provide anti-doping facilities and equipment for King's College London to be run during the Games.

KCL’s Drug Control Centre conducted more than 8,000 tests across 70 sports last year and its director, David Cowan, said that “with this significant partner we have the capacity to be able to help protect the health of the athlete and the integrity of the Games." GSK is London 2012’s 25th sponsor and 12th ‘tier three’ backer. Gaining that status costs companies around £10 million.