GlaxoSmithKline has entered into a manufacturing pact with Lonza and sold an R&D facility in Croatia to Galapagos.
First up, GSK has signed a deal with Lonza which will see the latter manufacture clinical trial batches of five monoclonal antibodies currently in Phase I and II. The Swiss firm will also provide "access to flexible capacity to enable GSK to respond to future demand, dependent upon progression of molecules through late stage development and commercial launch", the companies said. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Ian Tomlinson, head of biopharm R&D at the drugs giant, said the pact is "a critical step in the ongoing and future success of GSK in biopharmaceuticals”. He noted that the firm's goal is to establish a portfolio of biopharmaceuticals that by 2015 "consistently exceeds 20% of our R&D pipeline" and "to make this a reality we need to ensure that we have the right resources in place, which include flexible and expert manufacturing capabilities".
As part of the deal, the two companies said they will work together to "assess options for the design, specification, location and construction of a bespoke biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility within the UK".
Staying with facilities, Galapagos has acquired GSK's state-of-the art research centre in Zagreb, thus providing additional capacity for the Belgian firm's growing R&D requirements.
The deal involves the transfer of 130 staff and in addition, Galapagos will provide R&D services to GSK under a three year fee-for-service contract to the value of 14 million euros. Further terms were not disclosed.
GSK announced in February that it was stopping R&D activity at Zagreb and research chief Moncef Slaoui said the deal "is a great outcome...as it meets the capacity requirements of both companies". At the same time, he added, it "assures continuity of employment and a preservation of expertise at this excellent scientific facility.”
Heslop to step down as CFO in March
GSK also announced that Julian Heslop is to retire as chief financial officer at the end of March 2011. He will be succeeded by Simon Dingemans, who joins from Goldman Sachs where he is currently managing director and partner.