Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline set to cap a £100m spending spree with two major drug deals either side of Atlantic
Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline is this week set to cap a £100million spending spree with two major drug deals either side of the Atlantic, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Chief executive Emma Walmsley is poised to sign an agreement with a UK biotechnology company that will give GSK exclusive access to a promising early-stage treatment for immune disorders that affect millions of people worldwide.
Separately, the FTSE100 firm is closing in on a deal with another US biotech company to discover and develop potential drugs for neurological disorders.
Expansion: The arrangements will bolster GlaxoSmithKline boss Emma Walmsley’s plan to build a pipeline of new drugs
The arrangements will bolster Walmsley’s plan to build a pipeline of new drugs and could be announced as early as tomorrow, sources said.
They come on top of two link-ups announced last week – one to license Boston’s Surface Oncology’s early-stage cancer drugs, which included an $85million (£63million) upfront payment – and another to enter a new drug discovery partnership with Adrestia, a Cambridge-based biotech founded by genetic research specialist Professor Steve Jackson.
GSK also invested in a 13 per cent stake in Adrestia in a deal which could land Adrestia more than £800million including royalties.
The four deals are thought to represent an upfront combined investment of more than £100million for GSK. The spree marks a significant step in Walmsley’s plan to strengthen its pharmaceuticals and research arm ahead of a planned spin-off.
In 2018, she inked an audacious tie-up with US behemoth Pfizer’s over-the-counter medicines division, with the plan to split that arm from the prescription drugs and vaccines business. A full separation is likely to be complete by 2022.
Shore Capital analyst Adam Barker said the spate of drug deals allayed fears about the split.
‘There was a worry that the pharma business alone was not strong enough to stand on its own two feet,’ he said. ‘Now there is confidence that the research and development part of the group is robust.’
The deal frenzy could also help lift GSK’s flagging share price. The company has largely missed out on the rally in global pharma stocks during 2020.
GSK has focused its Covid efforts on providing an ingredient to create a strong immune response to the vaccines of its partners – France’s Sanofi, the US’s Medicago and China’s Clover.
However, last week GSK said regulatory approval of its flagship Sanofi vaccine was not expected until the end of next year after trials showed it failed to produce the expected immune response in older people.