GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reached a deal to purchase 100% of Affinivax’s outstanding shares for a total of $3.3B. Affinivax is a biopharmaceutical company from Boston, Massachusetts. However, the payment is divided into two parts; $2.1B upfront, and the remaining $1.2B in prospective development milestones.
$1.2B will be paid in two equal installments of $600M in the future when GSK meets some paediatric clinical development milestones. GSK noted that the agreement will be considered a business merger. Depending on essential closing conditions, the deal is expected to be concluded in the second-last quarter of the year.
GSK’s agreement for Affinivax’s acquisition enables it to use their MAPS (multiple antigen presenting system) technology and the 24-valent pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumococcal diseases comprise of mild diseases like sinusitis and not so mild diseases like pneumonia or meningitis. In United States alone, roughly 150,000 people are hospitalized annually due to pneumococcal pneumonia.
Affinivax’s MAPS technology, compared to conjugation technologies that are normally used, has a higher valency. Greater valency enables more coverage against leading pneumococcal serotypes, and could also provide better immunogenicity than current vaccines.
AFX3772, Affinivax’s most advanced vaccine, contains 2 conserved proteins and 24 polysaccharides against 20 serotypes in current approved vaccines. After 24-valent AFX3772, there is also a 30-valent vaccine in development. Acquisition of Affinivax would enable GSK to challenge Pfizer’s Prevnar in the pneumococcal vaccine market.
In adults, the vaccine offers good immune reactions compared to current standards and it was endured well too, as revealed in Phase I/II clinical trials of the aforementioned vaccine. Phase I/II clinical trials on paediatric subjects are expected to take place later this year while the phase III trial on adults is expected to start soon.
Dr. Hal Barron, GSK’s R&D president and chief scientific officer, said that the acquisition would strengthen their vaccines R&D channel even more while providing possibly disruptive technology and expanding GSK’s scientific presence in the Boston region.
Barron also said, “We look forward to working with the many talented people at Affinivax to combine our industry-leading development, manufacturing, and commercialization capabilities to make this exciting new technology available to those in need.”
CEO of Affinivax, Steven Brugger said that over the course of last eight years, Affinivax has come a long way from developing the platform of MAPS vaccine, to its top vaccine in late-stage trials as well as having a channel of novel vaccines.
Brugger also appreciated the fact that GSK recognized the efforts and accomplishments of the Affinivax team, and said the company is confident in GSK being the best possible place for MAPS technology and its future success. Brugger seems sure of GSK’s capabilities to improve MAPS as well as the vaccines.
GSK’s agreement with Affinivax comes just a month and a half after its $1.9B deal to acquire Sierra Oncology. These consecutive deals, that required a total upfront payment of $4B, conclude Barron’s tenure at GSK, who will be leaving the company for the role of CEO at Altos Labs later in the year.