Wyeth has acquired a Scottish biotechnology company, Haptogen, an Aberdeen-based firm that develops technologies for the discovery of protein therapeutics. No financial details have been disclosed.

The purchase of Haptogen brings to the US drugs major “a suite of next-generation biotechnology discovery technologies that complement Wyeth's ongoing biotherapeutic discovery efforts,” said Frank Walsh, executive vice president of discovery at Wyeth Research. He added that “in addition to the exciting technology and first-rate research team that we are bringing into our organisation, we consider the opportunity to conduct biopharmaceutical drug discovery in Scotland particularly important because of the rich pool of scientific and technological talent”.

Haptogen says that it has developed a number of technologies that allow for the optimisation of protein therapeutics with significantly improved profiles over the current generation of therapies. These benefits include the potential for more convenient routes of administration, “as well as cell and organ penetration, opening the opportunity to address diseases that are not treatable with the first generation of protein therapeutics”, the firm said.

Haptogen, which was founded in 2002 as a spin-out of the University of Aberdeen, now becomes part of Wyeth Discovery Research and the Scottish firm’s chief executive Jim Reid said that combining his firm’s technology platforms with Wyeth’s existing discovery and development capabilities “creates the greatest opportunity for realizing the potential to bring new treatments to patients”.

Commenting on the deal, the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said it is “yet another confirmation of Scotland’s position among the vanguard of life sciences”, adding that “not only does it put the international spotlight once more on the fantastic scientific work being done throughout our nation, it also boosts Aberdeen’s growing reputation as a hub for life sciences expertise”.

He went on to say that “we have one of Europe’s largest - and fastest growing - life science communities - with a track record of excellence at every stage, from early research to clinical trials and to commercialisation. I am confident Scotland can once again be known around the world as the home of life changing new treatments and technologies.”