GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) announced recently it is selling two travel vaccines to Bavarian Nordic for $334.7 million upfront, plus a potential $1.06 billion in milestone payments. The sale included rabies vaccine Rabipur (tradename Rabavert in the United States) and Encepur, for the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis.
GSK obtained the vaccines as part of a 2015 deal with Novartis (NYSE: NVS). GSK divested its oncology business to Novartis for $300 million and gained the vaccines in return. According to the company’s annual report, GSK generated $7.58 billion from its vaccine segment in 2018.
Both vaccines will continue to be manufactured primarily at GSK’s Marburg site in Germany until full production is transferred to Bavarian Nordic. The staged technology transfer is expected to begin in Q1 2020 with completion anticipated within five years.
In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, vaccines aren’t the dominant focus for deals, accounting for a handful every year, but there are still noteworthy transactions to highlight found in our Deal Search Online database. In July, German pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim purchased AMAL Therapeutics. The target company is focused on cancer immunotherapy and advancing first-in-class therapeutic cancer vaccines. AMAL was spun out of a syndicate of corporate and institutional investors, including the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and High-Tech Gründerfonds, VI Partners, Helsinn Investment Fund, BioMed Partners and Schroder Adveq. An exact upfront price wasn’t disclosed, but the total transaction could amount to $365.9 million with $112.6 million in potential milestones.
Back in February, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) acquired Immune Design (NASDAQ: IMDZ) for $300 million, or $5.85 per share in cash. Immune Design is a late-stage immunotherapy company employing next-generation in vivo approaches to enable the body’s immune system to fight disease. Merck will gain Immune Design’s proprietary technologies, GLAAS and ZVex, which are engineered to activate the immune system’s natural ability to generate and/or expand antigen-specific cytotoxic immune cells to fight cancer and other chronic diseases. The transaction closed in the second quarter of 2019.