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April 23, 2008

GSK to Snag Sirtris for About $716.93M

  • GlaxoSmithKline plans to shell out £362 million, or roughly $716.93 million, in cash to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. While Sirtris’ clinical pipeline is only one compound strong, GSK believes that the preclinical drug candidates and research expertise it will gain have blockbuster potential.

    GSK is offering $22.5 per share, almost double Sirtris’ closing price yesterday of $12.23. The Street also upped its valuation, sending Sirtris’ stock up to $22.20 at the opening of trading today.

    Sirtris focuses on sirtuins, a recently discovered class of enzymes that are believed to be involved in the aging process. The firm has been exploiting sirtuin modulation through the development of SIRT1 activators for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Its only clinical candidate, SRT501, is being evaluated in a Phase IIa study. The company hopes to advance more compounds into clinical development this year.

    GSK reports that it will leverage Sirtris’ research across metabolic, neurology, immunology, and inflammation diseases. "Modulation of this family of enzymes is a potentially transformative science that could address diseases associated with metabolism and aging, such as diabetes, muscle wasting, and neurodegeneration," comments Moncef Slaoui, chairman GSK R&D.

    Sirtris will become part of GSK's drug discovery organization while continuing to operate from laboratories in Cambridge, MA, as an autonomous unit.

    The companies anticipate that the tender offer will close in the second quarter.