This April 20, 2009 file photo shows signage at the offices of pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline, in London. GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 opted to keep its stake in its stand-alone HIV business as it set out its strategy following a big deal with Switzerland's Novartis. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
This April 20, 2009 file photo shows signage at the offices of pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline, in London. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

LONDON (MarketWatch) – GlaxoSmithKline PLC is selling its remaining rights to a drug for use in treating autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, to Novartis AG for up to $1 billion, plus royalties.

Glaxo said on Friday that Novartis will own rights to ofatumumab, as the drug is known, in all indications. The Swiss company will also pay royalties of up to 12% to Glaxo on any future net sales of the drug related to autoimmune indications. Novartis had previously bought the rights to the drug as a cancer treatment, for which it is marketed as Arzerra.

The sale follows the previously agreed $20 billion asset swap between the two pharmaceutical groups, which they completed earlier this year.

The Novartis transaction involved Glaxo trading its oncology franchise for the Swiss company’s vaccines business and forming a joint venture on consumer health care, thereby reducing Glaxo’s reliance on innovative medicines.

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