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GEN News Highlights : May 29, 2013

GSK Boosts Vaccine Business with $322M Okairos Buy

GlaxoSmithKline is slated to acquire vaccine platform technology development firm Okairos for €250 million (approximately $322 million) in cash.

Okairos has developed a vaccine platform technology that GSK now expects to play a major role in its development of new prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, the pharma giant said. The company added that Okairos’ technology complements its existing vaccine technology, and that today’s acquisition deal also includes a small number of early-stage assets for diseases including respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis C virus, malaria, tuberculosis, ebola, and HIV.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will take full ownership of Swiss-based Okairos. In a statement, the companies said they are “committed to an innovative collaboration and will work together over the next few months to develop ways of working that will maintain the autonomy, spirit, and agility of this unique small biotech firm which will be strengthened by the support and advantages that GSK can provide.”

Commenting on the transaction, GSK’s Christophe Weber, vaccines president, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for patients and our research organization as it is expected to contribute to the development efforts for an exciting new generation of vaccines, building on the excellent science and expertise of both companies.”

Added Okairos’ Riccardo Cortese, CEO: “With its considerable resources and know-how, I am confident that GSK is best-placed to maximize this opportunity to potentially transform the vaccines landscape.”