Sanofi Pasteur and MSD have announced the end of their European vaccines joint venture so that their own “distinct growth strategies” can be pursued instead.

Sanofi Pasteur MSD, in which each company has a 50% stake, was established in 1994 to develop and commercialise vaccines originating from both pipelines to improve public health in Europe by addressing previously unmet medical need.

The group has launched a number of vaccines onto the European market since its birth, including the cervical cancer jab Gardasil and shingles vaccine Zostavax, and last year generated sales of some 824 million euros.

Both partners are now planning to weave their respective European vaccine businesses back into their operations, to independently manage their product portfolios and pursue their own growth strategies in the region.

“We believe that focusing our efforts on opportunities unique to our respective companies will better position us to drive growth, execute in a more efficient manner and optimise vaccine coverage,” the firms explained in a statement. “By bringing vaccines more rapidly to market, both companies would deliver greater value to all stakeholders."

The companies are expecting JV to close down by the end of the year, subject to local labour laws and regulations and regulatory approvals.