GSK buying cancer drugmaker Tesaro in $5.1 billion deal

Marco Green
December 4, 2018

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to buy U.S. cancer drug specialist Tesaro for $5.1 billion, marking a major biotech investment by the drugmaker as its seeks to rebuild its pharmaceuticals portfolio.

"The acquisition of Tesaro will strengthen our pharmaceuticals business by accelerating the build of our oncology pipeline and commercial footprint, along with providing access to new scientific capabilities", Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GSK said in a statement. That represents a premium of more than 60 percent to the stock's $46.38 closing price Friday. City analysts and institutional shareholders raised concerns that the deal was expensive, as well as questioning the strength of Glaxo's dividend and whether Tesaro was best-placed to challenge leading cancer specialists, ...

Glaxo chief executive Emma Walmsley called Zejula a "jewel in the PARP class" and heralded the purchase as a "significant development" in her efforts to refocus the drug maker, a move that past year included hiring former Genentech R&D chief Hal Barron.

Zejula's revenues in its current approved indication as second-line maintenance treatment for ovarian cancer were $166 million in the nine months to September.

Glaxo expects the deal to close in the first quarter.

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