UK-based pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to sell the travel vaccines Rabipur (Rabavert in the US) and Encepur to Bavarian Nordic for approximately €796m ($888m).

GSK has acquired both the vaccines, Rabipur for the prevention of rabies, and Encepur for the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis, from Novartis in 2015.

GSK global vaccines president Roger Connor said: “This agreement with Bavarian Nordic will enable us to commit greater resources to our key growth assets and to our R&D pipeline, while also ensuring the continued supply of these important and successful vaccines.”

The transaction does not include transfer of employees or manufacturing facilities

Under the transaction terms, Bavarian Nordic will pay an upfront payment of approximately €301m ($336m), along with additional milestone payments of €495m ($552m) subject to the completion of technology transfer, marketing authorisation transfers.

GSK will primarily continue the manufacture of both vaccines at Marburg site in Germany until the production is transferred to Bavarian Nordic, and the technology transfer is planned to start in first quarter 2020 and completed within five years.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, subject to the anti-trust approval and the approval of Bavarian Nordic’s rights issue by its shareholders.

Rabipur is a vaccine for rabies virus that causes acute invariable fatal disease. The vaccine has been in the market for 30 years, supported by the clinical and safety evidence and WHO pre-qualification.

Encepur is a vaccine intended for active immunisation against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). The vaccine with unique dosing flexibility is supported by efficacy and long-term persistence data.

Bavarian Nordic is a Denmark-based, fully-integrated biotechnology company focused on research, development and manufacture of active cancer immunotherapies and vaccines for infectious diseases.

Bavarian Nordic president and CEO Paul Chaplin said: “This truly transformative acquisition pulls forward our vision to be a profitable independent vaccine company. Our proven world-leading manufacturing expertise in egg-based vaccines certainly creates a perfect fit for Rabipur/RabAvert and Encepur, with significant future synergies.”