GSK invests further in vaccines with $190m buy of GlycoVaxyn

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

GSK further commits to focusing on vaccine development with the purchase
GSK further commits to focusing on vaccine development with the purchase

Related tags Influenza vaccine Investment

Fresh of its acquisition of Novartis’ vaccine business, GlaxoSmithKline is doubling down with the purchase of GlycoVaxyn AG, a Swiss-based specialist vaccine maker, for $190m (£124m). 

The companies began collaborating in 2012 and GSK previously took a minority stake in GlycoVaxyn, which has developed a biological conjugation platform technology to develop new prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for bacterial diseases. The technology also has the potential to help GSK develop a simplified conjugate vaccine manufacturing process.

Under the terms of the transaction, which values GlycoVaxyn at $212m (£139m), GSK will bolster its development of early stage vaccines, including those for pneumonia, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus and Shigellosis.

The deal comes as GSK last April decided to swap its cancer drug portfolio for Novartis’ vaccine business​, which includes the meningitis vaccine Bexsero. GSK also seems committed to downsize its internal vaccine R&D efforts as the company most recently shuttered its R&D lab in Montana​. GSK spokeswoman Mary Rhyne told us the Novartis deal “remains on track to close by the first half of this year.”

Dr Moncef Slaoui, Chairman of Vaccines at GSK, said the GlycoVaxyn deal “reinforces our commitment to seek out and invest in great science and complements our proposed transaction with Novartis which will strengthen our leading position in vaccines​.”

GSK and the GlycoVaxyn management teams will work together over the next few months to develop ways of working that will maintain the autonomy of GlycoVaxyn while still delivering the scale and support of GSK.

Philippe Dro, Chief Executive Officer of GlycoVaxyn, added: “At GlycoVaxyn, we are delighted to be working even more closely with one of the leading vaccine companies in the world on the development of much needed vaccines​.”

GlycoVaxyn was supported by investments from life science venture capital firms including Sofinnova Partners, Index Ventures and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners. GlycoVaxyn also received funding from the Wellcome Trust and through a collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

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