GlaxoSmithKline (GSK announced that it has acquired Okairos AG (Okairos), a specialist developer of vaccine platform technologies for $325 million, the company stated in a press release. Swiss-based Okairos is a private company that has developed a novel vaccine platform technology that is expected to play an important role in GSK’s development of new prophylactic vaccines (designed to prevent infection) as well as new classes of therapeutic vaccines (designed to treat infection or disease). GSK states that Okairos’ technology complements GSK’s existing vaccine technology and expertise and will enable GSK to continue its work developing the next generation of vaccines. The deal also includes a small number of early stage assets.
Under the terms of the transaction, GSK will take full ownership of Okairos and thus assume ownership of early stage assets for diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), malaria, tuberculosis, ebola, and HIV, supplementing the company’s existing vaccines pipeline. Okairos’ platform technology is based on novel viral vectors (mechanisms which deliver genetic material into cells) that are designed to help stimulate immune responses (in particular T-cells) and aim to protect against and treat infectious diseases and cancer. The potential of this technology has been tested in clinical studies in which more than 700 subjects have been vaccinated, including Phase II programs in hepatitis C and malaria.