GSK Eye Up Slice Of UK’s Cancer Drug Cake

What GSK’s new cancer deal shows about pharma market

Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have been grabbing the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons but they have raised a few eyebrows this morning by announcing they are to spend in excess of $350 million, to get involved with the UK biotech’s promising cancer drugs.

GSK have agreed a deal with Adaptimmune, who are based in Oxford. The deal involves a more collaborative approach, this seems to be a growing trend as well as pharmaceutical companies look to spend less on early stage R&D.

“We are delighted to collaborate with GSK…Its substantial development and manufacturing expertise in key areas will be invaluable as we work together to accelerate the development of our programs and bring potentially breakthrough cancer therapies to patients,” James Noble, chief executive officer of Adaptimmune, said in a statement.

The are of immuno therapy in which Adaptimmune operates increasingly looks like the future for medical research. If the medicines that are being developed fulfil their potential to help train the body to fight cancer, they could effectively make many forms of cancer chronic or liveable with, much like HIV in developed countries. Immuno therapy currently makes p 3% of cancer treatment around the world but this could grow to 60% by 2023 according to Citi calculations.

Immuno therapy has a increasingly crowded marketplace, with AstraZeneca with its immuno-oncology platform thought to make them market leaders. Adaptimmune have had several suitors for the treatments that have been acquired by GSK, specialises in treatments which bolster the body’s own T-cell defences to fight cancers like multiple myeloma, melanoma, sarcoma and ovarian cancer.

The deal has raised eye brows after GSK mad a high profile and lucrative exit from most of its cancer business by selling it off to Novartis. This boosting of its own immuno-therapy business shows how eager the company is to get in at the cutting edge of research.

There has been a lot of interest into UK science recently, Pfizer’s failed attempt to acquire AstraZeneca grabbing most of the headlines. This is also seen as a huge vote of confidence in the research being done in the UK’s “Golden Triange” of Cambridge, Oxford and London.

Alex Carson

PiR Resourcing leaders in senior life science resourcing. For more news and information, you can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn 


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