GSK to pump £200 million into UK to boost medicine production and buys Aiolos Bio for $1.1 billion

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Gsk Glaxosmithkline Pharmacology Pharmaceutical industry acquisition Medicine

Pharma giant, GSK, plans to invest £200 million ($253 million) into the UK over the next two years and has acquired Aiolos Bio for $1.1 billion (£870 million).

The company formerly known as Glaxosmithkline will put the money towards its sites there until 2025 including constructing new facilities and assembly lines.

The company also intends a £67 million revamp of one of its Scottish factories in Montrose with the investment being used to plump up its production of the compounds it uses in its medicines.

The Mail on Sunday was told by head of global supply, Regis Simard that the company has a proud heritage of making innovative medicines in the UK.

He said: “Our six UK manufacturing sites, including Montrose, are an important part of our global manufacturing network and we’re continuously investing in science, technology and skills to deliver medicines faster and more efficiently.”

GSK had a strong year and is currently valued at £65 billion and with shares up 9% over the last year, the company lifted its full-year profit forecasts twice in 2023 despite the fall in sales of its Covid-19 drugs.

On Tuesday last week, (January 9) the company also announced it had acquired biopharma group Aiolos in a deal worth up to £1.1 billion.

They have entered into an agreement under which GSK will acquire Aiolos, which is focused on addressing the unmet treatment needs of patients with certain respiratory and inflammatory conditions, for the $1.1 billion upfront payment and up to $400 million in certain success-based regulatory milestone payments.

The company says the acquisition will provide it with access to Ailos’ AIO-001 which is described as a ‘potentially best-in-class, long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TLSP) monoclonal antibody that is ready to enter phase 2 clinical development for treating adults with asthma. Potential additional indications include chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

It was exclusively licensed to Aiolos outside of Greater China by Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (Hengrui).

Tony Wood, chief scientific officer, at GSK, said: “We have a proud heritage and deep development expertise in respiratory medicines, especially addressing diseases driven by IL-5 with high levels of eosinophils or high T2 inflammation. Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics’ portfolio, including to the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed.”

GSK has a leading portfolio of marketed and investigational medicines to address a range of respiratory diseases, including biologics aimed at treating the subset of asthma patients with high levels of eosinophils or high T2 inflammation. With AIO-001, GSK’s respiratory portfolio could provide the option of a biologic to a broader portion of the 315 million patients living with asthma regardless of biomarker status including those with low T2 inflammation.

Khurem Farooq, chief executive officer, at Aiolos Bio, said: “We believe that this transaction speaks to the high potential of our long-acting anti-TSLP monoclonal antibody, AIO-001. By uniting with GSK, a leader with decades of experience developing respiratory therapies and a shared commitment to improving patient lives, we’re confident that we can rapidly advance this therapy in the hopes of significantly reducing the treatment burden for patients.”

GSK’s chief executive Dame Emma Walmsley sang the praises of the UK economy earlier this month, the Mail reported stating that Britain was “uniquely placed” to perform well in the life sciences sector. Walmsley said strong academic skills, high-profile companies, and the NHS put the UK ahead of other countries.

Additionally, last September, GSK opened a new £65m drug factory in Hertfordshire to rapidly produce medicines developed through its research pipeline.

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