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GSK acquires rights to leukaemia drug

GlaxoSmithKline has signed a deal worth approximately $2.1 billion to acquire the worldwide rights to Danish biotechnology company Genmab's lead drug, HuMax-CD20.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has signed a deal worth approximately $2.1 billion (£1.1 billion) to acquire the worldwide rights to Danish biotechnology company Genmab's lead drug, HuMax-CD20.

The two companies have agreed to co-develop and market HuMax-CD20, an experimental antibody treatment in late-stage development for CD20 chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

CLL is the most common form of the disease in adults in the US and western Europe, with 8,100 to 12,500 cases diagnosed in the US each year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Genmab will receive a licence fee of £52 million ($103 million). GSK will invest £183 million ($359 million) to buy 4.5 million shares in Genmab, which also has partnerships to develop drugs with other companies, including Swiss pharmaceutical company, Roche.

Should the drug work in cancer and auto-immune and inflammatory diseases, the total value of the agreement could exceed £1.1 billion ($2.1 billion).

The Danish biotech will receive double-digit royalties on global sales of HuMax-CD20 and will be responsible for development costs until 2008, when costs will be split 50:50 between GSK and Genmab. GSK will also pay for marketing and manufacturing costs.

Genmab's CEO, Lisa Drakeman, said of the deal: ìThis alliance puts the tremendous strength of GSK's development, sales and marketing expertise behind HuMax-CD20.î

ìWe are looking forward to our collaboration and working together to maximise the value of this product that has the potential to benefit so many patients with different diseases,î added Drakeman.

30th September 2008

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