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Qualcomm Inc. in Talks With a Big Pharma Company About Possible Joint Venture

Qualcomm Inc. is reportedly in talks with the U.K. pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline PLC about a joint venture.

Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, reported Jan. 20 that the two companies were in preliminary talks about developing medical technology. Media representatives at both Qualcomm and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) declined to comment on the account.

If the report is true, it would fit into a recent pattern of Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) showing an interest in joint projects. The San Diego company announced several of them in January. This comes after a year when it saw sales and earnings slip, and saw the company’s high-performing smartphone technology business lose some of its momentum.

The San Diego chipmaker recently announced a deal with Novartis. The Swiss pharmaceutical company plans to put Qualcomm electronics in its drug inhalers, to collect information about when and how COPD patients use the drug-delivery devices. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Launch could be as soon as 2019, following regulatory approval.

In addition, Qualcomm announced a joint venture with Japan-based TDK to develop wireless communication electronics, specifically radio-frequency front end electronics. The $3 billion joint venture may eventually become part of Qualcomm.

On top of that, Qualcomm has announced a joint effort to produce data center chipsets in conjunction with the Chinese province of Guizhou. The effort seems to solve several problems for Qualcomm. It would seem to help Qualcomm’s overall place in the Chinese market. At the same time, it would help Qualcomm catch up with Intel, the dominant player in the data center market.

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