GSK rebuilds oncology pipeline with $5.1bn acquisition

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Cecilie_Arcurs)
(Image: Getty/Cecilie_Arcurs)

Related tags Oncology acquistion Gsk Antibody drug conjugates Clinical trial

GSK entered an agreement with Tesaro to gain ‘under-appreciated’ PARP inhibitor assets and a Boston base.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will enter this agreement with Boston-based Tesaro for an aggregate cash consideration of $5.1bn (€4.5bn) to bolster its pipeline and commercial capability in oncology. GSK is rebuilding after selling its oncology portfolio to Novartis​ in 2014 for $16bn.

Tesaro currently markets Zejula (niraprib), an oral poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor approved for the treatment of patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who have a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Mary Anne Rhyne, director of corporate communications at GSK, told us, “This transaction gives us a valuable Boston-based site with deep clinical development expertise to explore Zejula’s efficacy beyond ovarian cancer and advance a pipeline of late- and mid-stage cancer therapeutics, along with an oncology business hub that has demonstrated its commercial capabilities in the US and Europe.”​.

Clinical trials assessing the use of Zejula as a monotherapy and as a combination treatment are underway. The candidate is under investigation as a treatment for lung, breast, and prostate cancer.

In addition to Zejula, GSK will gain Tesaro’s other oncology assets in its pipeline, including antibodies directed against PD-1, TIM-3 and LAG-3 targets.

According to GSK, PARP inhibitors offer opportunities for use in the treatment of multiple cancer types.

Hal Barron, CSO and president of R&D at GSK, said in a statement, “Our strong belief is that PARP inhibitors are important medicines that have been under appreciated in terms of the impact they can have on cancer patients.”

The industry is using PARP inhibitors as an effective treatment of ovarian cancer, as their use has demonstrated marked clinical benefit​ in patients with and without BRCA gene mutations.

In July 2017, Tesaro licensed Zejula​ to Takeda to sell in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan and Russia.

The acquisition price is set at $75 per share in cash, which represents a 110% premium to Tesaro’s volume weighted average price of $35.67. Zejula’s revenues were $63.2m in the third quarter of 2018.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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