GSK sells vaccine laboratory activities to Nexelis

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/howtogoto
© GettyImages/howtogoto

Related tags: Vaccine, lab testing

GSK has sold its GCLP-certified clinical bioanalytical laboratory located in Marburg, Germany to Canadian clinical research organization (CRO), Nexelis.

The Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) team in Marburg, consisting of around 80 scientists and analysts, will be transferred to Nexelis. Those specialists, though, will continue to keep a strong relationship with GSK and support the development of future GSK vaccine candidates through a five-year collaborative agreement.

Emmanuel Hanon, head of GSK Vaccines R&D, explained the rationale for the sale: “Strategic outsourcing will optimize GSK’s footprint and increase our agility so that we can continue to accelerate the development of the candidate vaccines in our pipeline.”

Marburg was one of the sites GSK acquired in 2015 when it traded some of its cancer operations to Novartis in exchange for most of the Swiss company’s vaccine operations.

Vaccines manufactured at the German site include:

  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Whooping cough
  • Partial production for meningococci C and meningococci A, C, W, Y
  • Production of active enhancers such as the two adjuvants aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate
  • In the future: antigens for mumps and meningitis B

Testing footprint grows 

Nexelis said the deal, effective from the end of this month, enables it to expand its global footprint as well as its immunology-centric assay development and high-throughput clinical testing capacities.

The CRO said it intends to quickly expand the Marburg site, initiating collaborations with other vaccine development companies as well as with the company’s other North American and European sites.

It is looking to add new clinical testing platforms at the site and leverage existing talents in fields such as biostatistics to form an end-to-end service offering in bacteriology, virology, and oncology.

Benoit Bouche, Nexelis CEO, said: “We are thrilled to welcome on board new colleagues with a legacy of over 20 years under Novartis and GSK leadership in clinical laboratory activities supporting the development of vaccines against viral and bacterial diseases. We believe that this transaction is a determining step in the establishment of Nexelis as an unrivaled global vaccine player.”

This is the fifth acquisition by the Canadian company in the last three years. Founded in Laval in 2015, Nexelis aligned with the Ampersand Capital Partners fund in 2018 and made a series of buyout deals, thereafter, including Pacific Biomarkers, PAIRimmune, ImmunXperts, Gosselies and AIT Bioscience.

The CRO says it believes the advanced lab testing service provider segment will quickly mature and enable a small number of leaders to emerge with revenues exceeding US$500m. The company also sees Germany becoming a global hub for this segment, fostering job and value creation.

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