Affinivax is engaged in developing a novel class of vaccines, including the advanced next-generation pneumococcal vaccines


GlaxoSmithKline head office, London, UK. (Credit: Ian Wilson/Wikipedia)

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has signed an agreement to acquire US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Affinivax for $3.3bn.

Under the terms of the agreement, the British drugmaker will make an upfront payment of $2.1bn along with up to $1.2bn in potential milestone payments.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott- Rodino Act.

Affinivax is engaged in developing a novel class of vaccines, including the advanced next-generation pneumococcal vaccines.

The company has also developed the Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS), an advanced technology that is superior to conventional conjugation technologies.

MAPS is said to enable wider coverage against prevalent pneumococcal serotypes and create higher immunogenicity than current vaccines.

The most advanced vaccine candidate from Affinivax comes with 24 pneumococcal polysaccharides along with two conserved pneumococcal proteins.

Furthermore, it is also developing a 30-plus valent pneumococcal candidate vaccine, which is currently in pre-clinical development stage.

GSK chief scientific officer and R&D president Hal Barron 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.”

In a separate development, GSK’s HIV-focused subsidiary ViiV Healthcare has secured Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) approval for a combination therapy comprising its Vocabria (cabotegravir) to treat HIV.

Together with Vocabria, the combination includes Janssen’s Rekambys (rilpivirine long-acting injectable suspension) and Edurant (rilpivirine tablets).

The Japanese agency approved the combination as the first and only complete long-acting treatment for HIV, said ViiV.

Cabotegravir is an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) developed by ViiV Healthcare to treat HIV-1 in virologically suppressed adults.

Cabotegravir plus rilpivirine is a complete long-acting regimen dosed once monthly or once every two months for virologically suppressed people living with HIV-1.