GSK, who was already a minority shareholder in GlycoVaxyn, acquires the company and its biological conjugation platform which may help it to develop a new generation of prophylactic vaccines against bacterial infections. GSK has today paid €167M to purchase the remaining stake in the company.
GlycoVaxyn’s innovative biological conjugation platform originates enables the development of a new generation of vaccines. The platform produces conjugate vaccines in bacterial cells by using biotechnology, avoiding chemical conjugation. It also allows the development of innovative vaccines for a wider range of indications which cannot be produced with a traditional chemical technology.
The company, a spin off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), entered into research collaboration with GSK in 2012. The Swiss firm is in Phase I clinical trials with a vaccine candidate against Escherichia coli infections and is expected to initiate a Phase I for a vaccine against Shigellosis (severe diarrhea) in the US in the first quarter 2015 with the financial support of the Wellcome Trust. Bacterial infections such as those caused by Staphylococcus aureus or E. coli constitute a serious health issue as their ability to resist antibiotic treatments significantly grew over recent years. As a result the role of vaccination to prevent such bacterial infections is becoming increasingly important. These early stage vaccines will then integrate GSK’s current vaccine pipeline.
“Since the spin off from ETH Zurich we have successfully advanced our biological conjugation technology and developed a strong pipeline of vaccine candidates. We are delighted to now work even closer with one of the leading vaccine companies in the world on the development of much needed vaccines” said Michael Wacker, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of GlycoVaxyn.
In the other hand, GSK’s vaccines department will be extremely enhanced with this asset, especially after the deal signed with Novartis last year. GSK is definitely positioning itself as the world’s leading vaccine developer. A clever move for the British company, particularly since vaccines seem to be a growing business that was worth $25.5BN in 2014.