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Rebecca Lumley
31 May 2022

GSK to acquire clinical-stage biopharma company Affinivax

The $3.3 billion deal will strengthen GSK’s vaccine pipeline. 

GSK has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Affinivax, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Boston, Massachusetts, for a $2.1 billion upfront payment and up to $1.2 billion in potential development milestones. 

GSK, which is the world's largest vaccine maker by sales, says this will bolster its vaccine pipeline.  

Affinivax is pioneering the development of a novel class of vaccines, the most advanced of which are next-generation pneumococcal vaccines which target diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and sinusitis.  

Despite the current availability of pneumococcal vaccines, there remains a significant unmet medical need in this area. This is because the number of serotypes in current vaccines is limited due to the degree of immunological interference observed when using existing conjugation technologies. 

To address this, Affinivax has developed its Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS), a novel technology that supports higher valency than conventional conjugation technologies. This enables broader coverage against prevalent pneumococcal serotypes and potentially creates higher immunogenicity than current vaccines.   

Affinivax’s most advanced vaccine candidate (AFX3772) is expected to enter Phase III clinical trials shortly.  

Speaking about the news, Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer at GSK, 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.’ 

Steven Brugger, CEO of Affinivax, said he was ‘proud that GSK has recognized our team’s accomplishments’ and added that GSK is ‘an ideal new home for our MAPS platform and the team behind its success’.  

GSK also reiterated its outlook for 2022 and its medium-term targets.  

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