GlaxoSmithKline to Acquire Domantis for 230 Million Pounds Sterling GSK Will Further Expand Its Biopharmaceuticals Portfolio With Acquisition

of Pioneering Antibody Technology



    LONDON, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:  
 GSK) today announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire
 Domantis Ltd, a leader in developing the next generation of antibody
 therapies, for 230 million pounds (US$454 million) in cash. Domantis, a
 privately owned company, will become part of GSK's Biopharmaceuticals
 Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery (CEDD) while continuing to operate
 from laboratories in Cambridge, UK.
     The acquisition agreement is subject to clearance under the
 Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and is expected to complete in
 January.
     "Domantis has pioneered the extension of antibody therapies to
 potentially far wider applications than has been possible with conventional
 monoclonal antibodies," said Mike Owen, Senior Vice President,
 Biopharmaceuticals CEDD, GSK. "Its talent and world-leading technology will
 complement the work we are already taking forward in the CEDD to put GSK at
 the forefront of biotechnology."
     Robert Connelly, Domantis' founding Chief Executive Officer, said, "The
 agreement with GSK allows us to embed our R&D organization intact within a
 company committed to fully exploiting the potential therapeutic
 applications of our technology. I am delighted that GSK has made this major
 investment in our technology, our people, and our product pipeline."
     Next-generation antibody therapy
     Monoclonal antibodies, laboratory-engineered versions of the antibodies
 found in the natural immune system, can bind with exquisite precision to
 targets in the body. Yet their therapeutic applications, while growing
 rapidly, have been constrained by their large molecular size. Currently
 marketed therapeutic antibodies have to be administered by injection or
 infusion.
     Founded in 2000 by Ian Tomlinson and Sir Gregory Winter, Domantis has
 pioneered the next generation of antibody therapy, which is based on the
 smallest functional binding units of human antibodies. These units, termed
 domain antibodies (dAbs), may be administered in inhaled, topical, and,
 potentially, oral formulations as well as by injection and infusion. The
 Domantis technology also enables dAbs to serve as building blocks for
 therapeutics simultaneously directed at more than one disease target.
     Current research programs at Domantis address diseases including
 rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and
 multiple myeloma.
     "When Sir Gregory and I founded Domantis, our aim was to build a
 world-class R&D team capable of producing a wide range of dAb products that
 would have a major impact in medicine," said Dr. Tomlinson, formerly of the
 UK Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB) and
 now Chief Scientific Officer at Domantis.
     "The acquisition of Domantis by GSK highlights the tremendous potential
 and value of dAbs and provides the funding and capabilities to advance a
 large number of dAb products through clinical testing. Combining the core
 protein-engineering capabilities, technology, and intellectual property of
 Domantis with the basic science and clinical and commercial strength of GSK
 creates an opportunity to advance biopharmaceuticals on a global scale."
     Dr. Tomlinson will continue to manage the Cambridge laboratories of
 Domantis while serving as a GSK executive in the Biopharmaceuticals CEDD
 reporting to Dr. Owen.
     Sir Gregory, who has been a member of the Board of Directors and
 Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at Domantis, is Deputy Director
 of both the MRC-LMB and the MRC Centre of Protein Engineering.
     Biopharmaceuticals at GSK
     GSK has committed to becoming a leader in biopharmaceuticals by
 dedicating one of its Centres of Excellence for Drug Discovery to this
 endeavor. Large pharmaceutical companies traditionally specialize in
 medicines that are small molecules, administered orally.
 Biopharmaceuticals, by contrast, are large molecules typically administered
 by injection or infusion, though research continues in other delivery
 technologies. Examples of biopharmaceuticals are monoclonal antibodies,
 therapeutic vaccines, and recombinant therapeutic proteins.
     The Biopharmaceuticals CEDD is one of nine CEDDs in GSK which focus on
 specific technologies or therapeutic categories. The CEDDs, consisting of
 cross-functional teams of scientists and physicians, manage the progression
 of compounds in the 'middle' of the pipeline, bridging the conventional gap
 between discovery and development while drawing from the broader resources
 of the entire R&D organization.
     Notes to editors:
     -- Scientists in the laboratories of Sir Gregory Winter first published
        their work with dAbs in Nature in 1989.  The MRC-LMB has remained at
        the forefront of antibody research since monoclonal antibodies were
        invented there in the 1970's.
     -- Domantis this year won the UK Innovation in Drug Discovery &
        Development Award sponsored by London First and UK Trade & Investment.
     -- For further information about Domantis, please visit
        http://www.domantis.com.
     GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based
 pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the
 quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live
 longer. For company information including a copy of this announcement and
 details of the company's updated product development pipeline, visit GSK at
 http://www.gsk.com.
     Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
     Under the safe harbor provisions of the US Private Securities
 Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the company cautions investors that any
 forward-looking statements or projections made by the company, including
 those made in this Announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties
 that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected.
 Factors that may affect the Group's operations are described under 'Risk
 Factors' in the 'Operating and Financial Review and Prospects' in the
 company's Annual Report 2005.
 
 

SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.