Glaxo Buys Okairos for $324 Million to Grow in Vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) acquired Okairos AG, a Swiss developer of vaccine technologies, for 250 million euros ($324 million) to expand its range of inoculations.

The all-cash purchase also includes early-stage products targeting respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis C virus, malaria, tuberculosis, ebola and HIV, London-based Glaxo said in a statement today. The experimental vaccines for malaria and hepatitis C are in the second of three stages of testing usually required for regulatory approval.

Okairos uses viruses to deliver genetic material into cells, stimulating the immune system. The technology has been tested in more than 700 people, according to the statement. Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, said it plans to use the technology from closely held Okairos to produce vaccines that both prevent infections and fight diseases such as cancer.

Glaxo already sells vaccines, including against influenza, hepatitis and rotavirus, and has been developing an inoculation for malaria. The company’s vaccine business generated 3.3 billion pounds ($5 billion) in revenue last year.

Okairos’s investors include BioMedInvest, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, LSP, Novartis Venture Funds and Versant Ventures, according to its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Hallam in London at khallam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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