GSK agreed to buy Affinivax, a U.S. biotech, for up to $3.3 billion on Tuesday, its second large transaction in two months, giving the British pharmaceutical giant access to the company’s pipeline of next-generation vaccines.
GSK, one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, has been under pressure to strengthen its pharmaceutical pipeline ahead of the July separation of its consumer division, which includes trademarks such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Advil pain relievers.
The drugmaker’s improved shingles vaccine has been a crucial growth engine as demand for immunizations has returned following the pandemic, but GSK needs a new product to bolster the vaccines division, which produced 6.78 billion pounds ($8.54 billion) in 2021.
GSK is also up against vaccine candidates developed by rivals Pfizer and Moderna using newer mRNA technology.
GSK will pay Affinivax $2.1 billion up front, with potential milestone payments of up to $1.2 billion. Following its $1.9 billion purchase of Sierra Oncology, GSK signalled an interest for additional mergers last month.
“While this marks a step in the right direction with regard to the group’s strategy, we’re mindful that owning the treatment and making money from it are two very different things,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laura Hoy.
London-listed GSK also reiterated its 2022 outlook and medium-term goals on Tuesday.
GSK receives next-generation vaccines under development from privately held Affinivax, the most advanced of which are for pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections, and sinusitis.
GSK has its own, older pneumococcal vaccine, Synflorix, which was approved for use in Europe and the United States in 2009 and competes with Pfizer’s Prevnar and Merck’s Pneumovax.
Affinivax’s improved vaccination technology is intended to broaden immunity against a disease, eliminating the need for an immune-boosting adjuvant.
(Adapted from USNews.com)