GlaxoSmithKline acquires Sirtris Pharmaceuticals

GlaxoSmithKline is acquiring Cambridge, Massachusetts-based bio paharmaceutical researcher Sirtris Pharmaceuticals,  for approximately $720 million in cash amounting to $22.50 per share, an 84-per cent premium to its closing share price.

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals specialises in discovering and developing proprietary, orally available, small molecule drugs with the potential to treat diseases associated with ageing, including metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes through the development of SIRT1 activators. Its drug candidates are designed to mimic certain beneficial health effects of calorie restriction by activation of sirtuins, a recently discovered class of enzymes that the Company believes control the ageing process.

Through the acquisition, GSK expects to significantly enhance its metabolic, neurology, immunology and inflammation research by entering the field of sirtuins, in which Sirtris has established a drug discovery capability to exploit sirtuin modulation for the treatment of human disease, an approach that has the potential to generate multiple clinically and commercially important products.

"Modulation of this family of enzymes is a potentially transformative science that could address diseases associated with metabolism and ageing such as diabetes, muscle wasting, and neurodegeneration,'' commented Moncef Slaoui, Chairman GSK R&D. ''This acquisition continues GSK's strategy of pursuing the best new science, externally or internally, to bring new medicines to patients and value to the GSK pipeline. Our intent is to retain all Sirtris employees and continue the entrepreneurial and innovative culture they created.''

Sirtris will become part of GSK's drug discovery arm while continuing to operate from laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts as an autonomous unit, headed by Christoph Westphal, CEO and vice chair of Sirtris and the existing management team.

Dr Westphal commented, "We have built a dynamic and scientifically-driven organisation. We expect this transaction will accelerate our vision to target sirtuins to treat diseases of metabolism and ageing and deliver tremendous value to patients, our shareholders and our employees. We look forward to working with GlaxoSmithKline and their world-class research, development and commercialisation organisation."