GlaxoSmithKline has entered into an agreement with Cellzome, a privately-held chemical proteomics company, to acquire all shares in the company it does not currently own for $99 million in cash. Cellzome, which has laboratories in Cambridge, U.K., and Heidelberg, Germany, will become part of GSK's R&D organization.
The acquisition will give GSK a state-of-the-art, proteomic mass spectrometry and screening capability, enabling greater knowledge of drug targets and their interactions with compounds in the early phases of drug discovery. Through the use of this technology, GSK believes it can reduce attrition of potential new medicines during the development phase.
The proteomic technologies that Cellzome has developed differ from other traditional methods used in early drug discovery by assessing drug interactions with target proteins in a setting which more closely represents that found in a whole biological system. This allows scientists the opportunity to observe how candidate drugs affect both intended and non-desired targets in a close-to-physiological environment and may pinpoint potential safety issues earlier in the process.
"The acquisition of Cellzome adds significantly to our scientific capabilities and capacity to characterize drug targets and provides the opportunity to further enhance GSK's ability to bring medicines to patients in a more effective manner," said John Baldoni, senior vice president, platform & technology science, GSK.
GSK and Cellzome have two active early stage research collaborations using these discovery capabilities within the immune-inflammation therapy area. With the acquisition, the technologies could be leveraged across GSK's whole portfolio.
"We are pleased to announce this transaction, which will enable GSK to progress the technologies that we have been developing for more than a decade," said Tim Edwards, CEO, Cellzome. "This follows nearly four years of successful collaboration with GSK, during which time we demonstrated the value and breadth of the Cellzome platform for drug discovery."
GSK, which currently owns a 19.98% equity interest in Cellzome, will assume full control of the company. Simultaneous with the acquisition, Cellzome shareholders, including GSK, intend to create a spin-off company, which would hold the rights to certain of Cellzome's assets and activities that GSK does not wish to progress. The acquisition is not subject to any third party approvals and is anticipated to complete on 21 May 2012.