GSK acquires Okairos AG for EUR 250 mio

29.05.2013 16:25

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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today announced that it has acquired Okairos AG (Okairos), a specialist developer of vaccine platform technologies for €250 million in cash. Okairos is headquartered in Basel. The company was spun out from Merck in 2007.

Swiss-based Okairos, a private company, has developed a novel vaccine platform technology which is expected to play an important role in GSK’s development of new prophylactic vaccines (designed to prevent infection) as well as new classes of therapeutic vaccines (designed to treat infection or disease). Okairos’ technology complements GSK’s existing vaccine technology and expertise, and will enable GSK to continue its work developing the next generation of vaccines. The deal also includes a small number of early stage assets.

The acquisition reinforces GSK’s commitment to investment in innovative science. GSK’s vaccines business sits alongside pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare as part of a balanced business and product portfolio capable of delivering sustainable sales growth.

Christophe Weber, President, GSK Vaccines said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for patients and our research organisation 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.”

Riccardo Cortese, Chief Executive Officer and founder, Okairos, said: "I am extremely pleased with this agreement, which will enable GSK to build on the hard work we have put into developing our vaccines and platforms to the stage that they are at today. With its considerable resources and know-how, I am confident that GSK is best-placed to maximise this opportunity to potentially transform the vaccines landscape.”

Under the terms of the transaction, GSK will take full ownership of the company and thus assume ownership of early stage assets for diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), malaria, tuberculosis, ebola and HIV, supplementing the company’s existing vaccines pipeline. GSK and the Okairos management team 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.

Okairos was supported by investments from the following life science venture capital firms: BioMedInvest, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, LSP, Novartis Venture Funds and Versant Ventures.

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. 

Okairos - is a non-listed clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, developing genetic vaccines for major infectious diseases - including malaria, hepatitis C, HIV, respiratory syncytial virus and cancer - using a novel proprietary technology. The company is also pursuing therapeutic vaccines to treat cancer. The company is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and has laboratories in Rome and Naples, Italy. The company was spun out from Merck in 2007.

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