GlaxoSmithKline will buy the remaining 80.02% of chemoproteomics firm Cellzome that it doesn’t already own, for £61 million ($99 million) in cash. The acquisition will add proteomics mass spectrometry and screening capabilities to GSK’s existing drug discovery engine, which the U.K.-based drugs giant says it believes will reduce the failure rate of development-stage drug candidates. In parallel with the acquisition, Cellzome’s existing shareholders and GSK plan to create a spin-out company to take on any of Cellzome’s assets and activities that its new parent doesn’t want to progress.
Cellzome’s platform technologies include its Episphere™ suite of quantitative proteomics technologies for the discovery of drug candidates against epigenetic targets. The firm has been leveraging these technologies both for the development of an in-house pipeline against inflammatory disorders and cancer, and through drug discovery partnerships including two early-stage research collaborations with GSK, and collaborations with Pfizer, Novartis, and BayerHealthcare.
Headquartered in the U.K., Cellzome also has facilities in Heidelberg, Germany. Last year Cellzome received three grants to fund its participation in collaborative research. The most recent £0.9 million grant, awarded by the U.K. government-backed Technology Strategy Board’s regenerative medicine program "tools and technologies", was granted in December 2011 to support use of the Episphere technology as part of an industry-academia collaboration focused on identifying protein fingerprints predictive of potentially adverse changes to stem cells. The project is being headed by Cellzome. Also in 2011 Cellzome received separate grants from the EU’s 7th Framework program to participate in two collaborative projects, Blueprint and Orchid. Blueprint is a major European effort to decipher the epigenetic basis of the hematopoietic system. Orchid is focused on the identification of new treatments for tuberculosis.