- $3.3 billion acquisition of Affinivax strengthens vaccine pipeline

- Provides access to next-generation pneumococcal vaccines

- Full-year and medium-term guidance reiterated

Pharmaceutical firm GSK (GSK) has agreed to acquire novel vaccine developer Affinivax for $2.1 billion upfront and a potential $1.2 billion in milestone payments.

The company said the proposed purchase ‘supports development of a strong portfolio of innovative vaccines and specialty medicines’.

Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts based Affinivax’s leading vaccine AFX3772 was granted a Breakthrough Therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration after positive late stage clinical trials investigating its use to prevent pneumonia.

The drug produced a good immune response compared with current standard of care to prevent S. pneumoniae invasive disease and pneumonia in adults 50 years and above.

Affinivax has developed a novel technology platform called the Multiple Antigen Presenting System, which enables a broader coverage against prevalent pneumococcal variants and has the potential to create a stronger immune response.

GSK’s chief scientific officer Dr Hal Barron commented: ‘The proposed acquisition further strengthens our vaccines R&D pipeline, provides access to a new, potentially disruptive technology, and broadens GSK's existing scientific footprint in the Boston area.’

The shares were unchanged in early trading at £17.27.

POTENTIEAL TO ADDRESS UNMET NEED

Despite the availability of current vaccines, the company said there remains a significant unmet medical need. In the US pneumococcal meningitis and bacteremia killed approximately 3,250 people in 2019.

Pneumococcal pneumonia causes an estimated 150,000 hospitalisations every year in the US.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is associated with multiple types of disease including blood stream infections (sepsis), meningitis and pneumonia.

GSK confirmed full-year guidance and reiterated medium-term guidance for the business following the demerger of consumer healthcare company Haleon.

The company is targeting to deliver sales growth of more than 5% a year from 2021-to-2026 and 10% compound annual growth in operating profit.

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Issue Date: 31 May 2022