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GSK and HGS 'hold late-stage talks' over takeover

UK pharma company also files COPD drug in US and EU

GSK - logo on building
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) held last-minute talks with Human Genome Sciences (HGS) this weekend as the auction process for other bids for the business drew closer to concluding, according to several news reports.

Today is the final day for HGS to secure an alternative to GSK's $2.6bn hostile takeover, which has repeatedly been rejected by HGS' management.

GSK's own $13-per-share bid expires on Friday Juky 20 and the two companies were reportedly trying to reach an agreement after months of stalemate over the amount GSK is offering for the business.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters has suggested that a deal may be forthcoming with a modest increase on the offer price to $14 per share, valuing HGS at $2.8bn. To date, GSK has publicly refused to enter into HGS' tender process directly.

GSK's close working relationship with HGS is said to have discouraged other suitors to come forward, although it is rumoured that Celgene had been considering a bid.

GSK and HGS co-market the lupus treatment Benlysta (belimumab) and also have a shared interested in the investigational drugs darapladib for atherosclerosis and diabetes candidate albiglutide.

…while COPD drug filed in US, EU

Meanwhile, GSK and partner Theravance say they have filed for approval in the US and EU for their chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma drug candidate, based on corticosteroid fluticasone furoate and long-acting beta agonist (LABA) vilanterol.

The new once-daily product is being filed for COPD and asthma in the EU, where it has been given the proposed brad name of Relvar, and for COPD alone in the US where it will be known as Breo. The drug was previously given the interim name of Relovair in both markets.

Breo's use in asthma in the US is in question, in light of more stringent regulatory requirements for new asthma therapies which have followed recent concerns about the safety of LABA drugs. GSK and Theravance said they "reviewing the strategy for a future US filing" in this indication.

Relvar/Breo has been developed as a follow-up to GSK's big-selling Seretide/Advair (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol) product, a twice-daily drug which achieved sales of over £5bn ($7.9bn) in 2011 but is facing patent expiries in Europe next year.

16th July 2012

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