GlaxoSmithKline's investment in biotech is not showing any signs of slowing down and having signed a £1.1 billion alliance in the morning with Denmark's Genmab, the afternoon saw the firm enter a technology pact with Illumina of the USA.

Illumina, which develops tools for the large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function, says that GSK agreed to buy 1,000 of its HumanHap550 BeadChips in what the company described as "a multi-million dollar agreement." It will also use Illumina's Fast-Track Genotyping Service to process about 4,000 disease samples for pharmacogenetics applications and, by the end of 2006, it will have genotyped more than 15,000 samples and reported nearly 3.5 billion genotypes to GSK.

Rawcliffe picked for key collaboration post

It will be these, and bigger, types of deals that will be the responsibility of Adrian Rawcliffe, who has been named as GSK's senior vice president of worldwide business development for R&D, succeeding Moncef Slaoui, who is now chairman of R&D.

Formerly managing partner and president of SR One, GSK's venture capital arm, Mr Rawcliffe will have global responsibility for all business development activities including in-licensing, collaborations and alliance management.

Analysts keen on Genmab pact

Meantime, the dust has settled a little after GSK's link-up with Genmab was announced for the fully human monoclonal antibody HuMax-CD20 (ofatumumab) and most industry observers are impressed. "The stake and the deal buy GSK a viable pipeline product in HuMax-CD20 that to us has better risk dimensions than many of GSK's own pipeline candidates," said analysts at Bernstein Research in a note to investors.

Analysts at Jyske Bank upgraded the Danish firm from 'accumulate' to 'buy,' stating that its promising pipeline also makes it an acquisition target. Genmab shares closed up over 16% on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.