GlaxoSmithKline snaps up promising cancer treatment ahead of crunch investor day
The deal will see Glaxo pay US$625mln upfront and the remainder in royalty payments on sales outside of the US for a cancer-busting treatment under development by Iteos.
The EOS-448 anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody helps trigger the body’s own defences to attack tumours and is currently in a phase I safety trial.
Glaxo believes it can prove to be a key member of a trio of medicines that in combination might be the basis for the next stage of immuno-oncology based cancer treatments.
Hal Barron, GSK’s Chief Scientific Officer, said: “Immuno-oncology has transformed cancer care but unfortunately less than 30” of patients respond to treatment with the current leading immune checkpoint inhibitors.
“Based on the underlying science, we believe that combinations of a PD-1, TIGIT, CD96 and PVRIG inhibitor could become transformative medicines for many patients with cancer.”
The FTSE 100 firm added that with the addition of EOS-448, GSK it is the only company with antibodies targeting all three known checkpoints – TIGIT (via EOS-448), CD96 (via GSK’608), and PVRIG (via GSK’562).
“Together with GSK’s recently approved anti-PD-1, Jemperli (dostarlimab), this comprehensive portfolio of potential next-generation immuno-oncology agents will be explored through various novel combinations, including doublets and triplets, to evaluate their potential to transform treatment options for patients with multiple different cancers,” said its statement.
The announcement came at the start of an important few days for both GSK and Emma Walmsley, its chief executive for the past four years.
Wednesday week (23 June) the group will announce the details of the planned separation of its consumer-facing businesses from its pharma arm at a capital markets day.
But the position of Walmsley herself is now under scrutiny following the recent acquisition of a stake by US activist investor Elliot Advisers.
The US firm has been reported as ringing around major investors to gauge opinion on whether she is still seen as the best person to run the pharma arm, which Walmsley will head once the business splits.
GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of having a weak pharma pipeline compared to rival and one-time junior rival AstraZeneca, which has also left GSK standing in the production of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Shares in GSK rose 0.5% to 1410.8p.