GSK strengthens vaccines business with US$325m acquisition of Okairos

Okairos viral vector technology protects against infectious diseases and cancer

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has bought Switzerland-based Okairos, a vaccine developer for US$325m (€250m) in cash.

GSK said Okairos’ novel vaccine platform technology would play an important role in its development of new prophylactic vaccines (designed to prevent infection) as well as new classes of therapeutic vaccines (designed to treat infection or disease).

The technology is based on viral vectors that help stimulate immune responses, particularly T-cells and aim to protect against and treat infectious diseases and cancer.

The technology has already been tested in clinical studies involving more than 700 subjects, including mid-stage Phase II programmes in hepatitis C and malaria.

GSK’s President of Vaccines Christophe Weber, said the acquisition of Okairos was ‘expected to contribute to the development efforts for an exciting new generation of vaccines’.

Under the terms of the deal GSK will take ownership of Okairos’ early stage assets for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), malaria, tuberculosis, ebola and HIV, supplementing the company's existing vaccines pipeline.

Okairos was spun out from Merck & Co in 2007 and has laboratories in Rome and Naples, with headquarters in Basel.

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