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GSK to Acquire Asthma Drug Owner Aiolos for up to $1.4 Bn

Written by : Nikita Saha

January 10, 2024

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As per the deal, GSK will pay $1 billion upfront and up to $400 million in certain success-based regulatory milestone payments to Aiolos.

British Drugmaker GSK Plc is going to acquire US biotech Aiolos Bio Inc, an asthma drug maker, in a deal worth up to $1.4 billion. This acquisition is part of GSK’s strategy to boost its growing respiratory diseases portfolio.

Aiolos Bio, founded in 2023, is focused on developing therapies for respiratory and inflammatory conditions. It is currently developing ‘AIO-001’, a treatment for asthma.

This experimental drug is ready to enter mid-stage tests for adults with asthma, although the monoclonal antibody has potential in other diseases related to inflammation such as chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps, GSK.

What Does the Acquisition Deal Entail

As per the deal, GSK will pay $1 billion upfront and up to $400 million in certain success-based regulatory milestone payments to Aiolos.

Further, the UK drugmaker will also be responsible for success-based payments and tiered royalties to China’s Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd, which has licensed Aiolos’s lead medicine, called AIO-001.

This strategic move is expected to expand the reach of GSK’s current respiratory biologics portfolio, including the 40% of severe asthma patients with certain conditions, where treatment options are still needed.

On the deal, Khurem Farooq, CEO, Aiolos Bio, said, “We believe that this transaction speaks to the high potential of our long-acting anti-TSLP monoclonal antibody, AIO-001. By uniting with GSK, a leader with decades of experience developing respiratory therapies and a shared commitment to improving patient lives, we’re confident that we can rapidly advance this therapy in the hopes of significantly reducing the treatment burden for patients.”

GlaxoSmithKline, commonly known as GSK, is a British multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company with global headquarters in London. It was established in 2000 by a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. Currently, it is the tenth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world.

The company has been a leader in medicines that advance the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for 50 years. They have also dedicated themselves to finding advanced treatments for HIV since the disease first began emerging in the early 1980s

GSK’s legacy includes several listed in the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines, such as amoxicillin, mercaptopurine, pyrimethamine, and zidovudine.

Sharing thoughts, Tony Wood, CSO, GSK, said, “We have a proud heritage and deep development expertise in respiratory medicines, especially addressing diseases driven by IL-5 with high levels of eosinophils or high T2 inflammation. Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics portfolio, including to the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed.”

Recent Pharma Acquisitions

In a similar development, Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca acquired respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine developer Icosavax (ICVX.O) in a deal valued at up to $1.1 billion.

Icosavax is developing a combination vaccine candidate targeting RSV and human metapneumovirus (hMPV). RSV is a leading cause of pneumonia in toddlers and the elderly, while hMPV causes very similar respiratory tract infections.

The cash deal aimed at strengthening AstraZeneca's drugs pipeline that values US-listed Icosavax at $15 per share. Additionally, there is a provision for an additional $5 per share if specific milestones are achieved.

Days back, Dr Reddy's Laboratories acquired US-based MenoLabs. The acquisition deal is a part of Dr Reddy's strategy to expand its presence in the rapidly growing women's nutritional and wellness market in the US.

This strategic acquisition also encompasses the MenoLife health tracker app, an integral component of the MenoLabs ecosystem, providing consumers with community, education, and information related to menopause.


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