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      Aspen Pharmacare, Matrix to set up venture

      Posted AtMSN Money

      South Africa's biggest drug maker, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., and India's Matrix Laboratories Ltd. said Friday they would set up a joint venture to make generic AIDS drugs and other medications.

      The 50-50 joint venture will be called Astrix Laboratories Ltd., said a joint statement from the two companies. Aspen will invest US$36.5 million (euro30 million), and Matrix will transfer to Astrix one of its manufacturing units, based in the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad, the statement said.

      Matrix will also pass on the technology and intellectual property rights for some drugs produced at the Hyderabad factory, the statement said, but didn't name the medicines.

      The transfer is expected to be completed by January 1, 2006.

      The Hyderabad factory currently makes anti-retroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

      Aspen and Matrix are among half-dozen companies contracted by the William J. Clinton Foundation, based in New York and established by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, to supply low cost generic AIDS drugs for the foundation's Africa operations.

      In a separate transaction, Matrix will buy a 50 percent stake in Aspen-owned Fine Chemical Corp., a drug ingredient company based in Cape Town, South Africa, that is fully owned by Aspen. Matrix will buy the stake for US$20 million (euro16.5 million), the statement said.

      © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

      September 23, 2005


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