GSK to acquire vaccine developer Affinivax in deal worth up to $3.3bn


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to acquire Affinivax, a Boston-based clinical-stage vaccine developer, in a deal worth up to $3.3 billion.

The consideration includes an upfront payment of $2.1 billion and payments of up to $1.2 billion based on potential development milestones.

Affinivax is engaged in developing vaccines by using its Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) technology. The most advanced of Affinivax’s assets are next-generation pneumococcal vaccines for pneumonia, bloodstream infections, meningitis, and milder diseases like otitis media and sinusitis.

The MAPS technology is claimed to support higher valency than traditional conjugation technologies, thereby allowing wider coverage against prevalent pneumococcal serotypes and possibly creating higher immunogenicity than the present vaccines.

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Dr Hal Barron — GSK Chief Scientific Officer and R&D President, commenting on GSK acquisition of Affinivax, said: “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.

“We look forward to working with the many talented people at Affinivax to combine our industry-leading development, manufacturing, and commercialisation capabilities to make this exciting new technology available to those in need.”

GSK acquisition of Affinivax

GSK acquisition of Affinivax. Photo courtesy of giggel/Wikimedia Commons)

Affinivax’s most advanced vaccine candidate, which is AFX3772, includes 24 pneumococcal polysaccharides along with a couple of conserved pneumococcal proteins.

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AFX3772, which is heading into phase 3 clinical development, has breakthrough therapy designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of S. pneumoniae invasive disease and pneumonia in adults aged 50 years and over.

The biopharma company also has a 30-plus valent pneumococcal candidate vaccine, which is in pre-clinical development.

Commenting on GSK acquisition of Affinivax, Steven Brugger — Affinivax CEO said: “Over the past eight years, we have taken that vision from the initial development of our MAPS vaccine platform at Boston Children’s Hospital to a pipeline of novel vaccines with our lead vaccine candidate in late-stage clinical studies.

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“We are proud that GSK has recognized our team’s accomplishments and are confident that GSK is an ideal new home for our MAPS platform and the team behind its success.

“GSK’s significant capabilities will enable continued advances with MAPS to improve existing vaccines – as is the case with our lead Streptococcus pneumoniae MAPS vaccine program – and develop vaccines that combat novel and resistant infectious diseases for which there are no effective immunization strategies available today.”

The deal, which is subject to customary conditions, is likely to be wrapped up in Q3 2022.

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