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Rare cancer specialists Sierra Oncology acquired by GSK for £1.5bn

Unification will help to uphold and progress promising Momelotinib treatment which targets myelofibrosis

GSK

In a deal worth £1.5bn ($1.9bn), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced that it will acquire Sierra Oncology, a California-based, late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted therapies for the treatment of rare cancers.

One of the most notable areas of focus for Sierra Oncology has been myelofibrosis, a fatal cancer of the bone marrow impacting the normal production of blood cells, while it has also concentrated on anaemia which so often accompanies the condition.

The company’s therapy, Momelotinib, has a differentiated mode of action with inhibitory activity along key signalling pathways. This activity may lead to beneficial treatment effects on anaemia and reduce the need for transfusions while also treating symptoms.

In January 2022, Sierra Oncology announced positive results from its MOMENTUM phase 3 trial. The study met all its primary and key secondary endpoints, demonstrating that momelotinib achieved a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit on symptoms, splenic response and anaemia.

Momelotinib complements GSK’s Blenrep (belantamab mafodotin) in terms of building on GSK’s commercial and medical expertise in haematology.

The acquisition aligns with GSK’s strategy of building a strong portfolio of new specialty medicines and vaccines. If the transaction is completed and momelotinib is approved by regulatory authorities, GSK expects that the therapy will contribute to GSK’s growing specialty medicines business, with sales expected to begin in 2023, prompting significant growth potential.

Luke Miels, chief commercial officer at GSK is optimistic about the link up: “Sierra Oncology complements our commercial and medical expertise in haematology. Momelotinib offers a differentiated treatment option that could address the significant unmet medical needs of myelofibrosis patients with anaemia, the major reason patients discontinue treatment.”

“With this proposed acquisition, we have the opportunity to potentially bring meaningful new benefits to patients and further strengthen our portfolio of specialty medicines,” he added.

Stephen Dilly, president and chief executive officer at Sierra Oncology, concludes: “Uniting with GSK creates the best opportunity for Sierra Oncology to realise its mission of delivering targeted therapies that treat rare forms of cancer while also delivering compelling and certain value for our stockholders. Now we have a partner with a global infrastructure and oncology expertise that enables us to deliver momelotinib to patients as quickly as possible and on a global scale.”

Article by
John Pinching

14th April 2022

From: Healthcare

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