GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire those shares it does not currently own in Cellzome, a leader in the development and advancement of proteomics technologies, for £61 million (US$99 million) in cash.
Cellzome, a privately owned company with laboratories in Cambridge, UK, and Heidelberg, Germany, will become part of GSK’s R&D organization.
Cellzome’s proteomics technologies can be used throughout drug discovery from screening to selectivity profiling of compounds in different cells and also in patient samples.
The technologies that Cellzome has developed differ from other traditional methods used in early drug discovery by assessing drug interactions with target proteins in a setting which more closely represents that found in a whole biological system.
This allows scientists the opportunity to observe how candidate drugs affect both intended and non-desired targets in a close-to-physiological environment and may pinpoint potential safety issues earlier in the process.
"The acquisition of Cellzome adds significantly to our scientific capabilities and capacity to characterize drug targets and provides the opportunity to further enhance GSK’s ability to bring medicines to patients in a more effective manner," said John Baldoni, senior vice president, Platform & Technology Science, at GSK.
The acquisition of Cellzome by GSK supports the company’s R&D strategy of collaborating with external partners and seeking out the best science, wherever it may be.
This is the third platform technology acquisition since 2007 and highlights the company’s growing expertise in the scientific platforms upon which new medicines are discovered, developed and readied for manufacture.
In 2007, GSK acquired two platform technology companies - Domantis Ltd, a leader in developing the next generation of antibody therapies, and Praecis, a Massachusetts-based company that created novel therapeutic programs and an innovative chemical-synthesis and screening technology.
Acquisition of Cellzome will give GSK a proteomic mass spectrometry and screening capability, enabling greater knowledge of drug targets and their interactions with compounds in the early phases of drug discovery.
Through the use of this technology, GSK believes it can reduce attrition of potential new medicines during the development phase.
GSK and Cellzome have two active early stage research collaborations using these discovery capabilities within the immune-inflammation therapy area. With the acquisition, the technologies could be leveraged across GSK’s whole portfolio.
"We are pleased to announce this transaction, which will enable GSK to progress the technologies that we have been developing for more than a decade," said Tim Edwards, chief executive officer of Cellzome.
Edwards continued, "This follows nearly four years of successful collaboration with GSK, during which time we demonstrated the value and breadth of the Cellzome platform for drug discovery."
GSK, which currently owns a 19.98 percent equity interest in Cellzome, will assume full control of the company.
Simultaneous with the acquisition, Cellzome shareholders, including GSK, intend to create a spin-off company, which would hold the rights to certain of Cellzome’s assets and activities that GSK does not wish to progress.
The acquisition is not subject to any third party approvals and is anticipated to complete on 21 May 2012.