Glaxo acquires oral care product Biotene for $170 million

Within a week of acquiring Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's mature products business in Egypt for $210 million, last week, the world's second-largest drug firm GlaxoSmithKline Plc yesterday said it would pay privately held Laclede Inc $170 million to acquire its over-the-counter treatment for dry mouth.

In the past Glaxo has lost out to Johnson & Johnson for over-the-counter healthcare businesses of Pfizer Inc and to Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc for Boots'.

Biotene, which had sales of $50 million in 2007, a growth of 17 per cent since 2006 and 65 per cent of its current sales in the US, would strengthen GSK's consumer healthcare business as it fits within its existing oral care portfolio - Aquafresh, Parodontax, and Sensodyne toothpaste, Corsodyl for gingivitis, as well as denture products like PoliGrip denture adhesives poliodent denture cleansers and other treatments.

The Biotene range includes mouthwash, toothpaste, gel, spray and gum formulations for relieving dry mouth, or xerostomia, a condition caused by aging, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The alcohol-free product is also used to treat oral sensitivity that, Glaxo says, affects around one in five adults. Dry mouth is also associated with chronic medical conditions that include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome and Parkinson's disease.

The transaction is subject to regulatory review by competition authorities in the United States and Europe, and is expected to complete by early 2009.

''The acquisition of Biotene extends our portfolio in therapeutic oral healthcare to include a proven treatment for Dry Mouth,'' said John Clarke, president, GSK Consumer Healthcare.

''This opportunity leverages our global capability with dental and medical professionals and is a further step towards our goal in GSK of building and growing a diversified healthcare business,'' Clarke added.

Biotene is a proprietary system founded on three enzymes: glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase and lysozme, each found in healthy saliva. The augmentation of these enzymes through the introduction of Biotene into an oral healthcare regimen aids the symptomatic relief of dry mouth. New innovation in 2008 added additional enzymes that attack and breakdown plaque biofilm.