Glaxosmithkline strikes £1.4bn deal with US rival Iteos Therapeutics

Glaxo strikes £1.4bn deal with US rival: Drugs tie-up boost for under-fire boss Emma Walmsley

Glaxosmithkline has struck a £1.4billion deal to develop new cancer drugs with a US rival.

The move bolsters the British pharma giant’s pipeline of medicines at a time when boss Emma Walmsley is seeking to reassure investors.

It will pay £443million upfront to Boston-based Iteos Therapeutics, which could then get another £1billion if the deal leads to clinical and commercial breakthroughs.

Glaxosmithkline’s deal with Boston-based Iteos Therapeutics bolsters the UK firm’s pipeline of medicines at a time when boss Emma Walmsley (pictured) is seeking to reassure investors

It comes as Walmsley, 52, is trying to convince investors that she is the right person to lead the pharmaceutical and vaccines-focused company after the consumer business is spun off next summer.

She faces potential disruption from feared activist Elliott Management, which took a ‘multi-billion-pound’ stake last month. 

The chief executive is due to set out her long-term plans at a capital markets day on June 23 that is now seen as a crucial test.

There, she will also seek to boost investor confidence in the pipeline of new drugs – and its potential to create future ‘blockbusters’ that generate more than $1billion in annual revenue.

The Iteos deal is to develop EOS-448, an experimental treatment that could be given to patients with certain types of cancer to ‘switch off’ a tumour’s ability to evade the body’s immune system.

EOS-448 is in early trials using patients with advanced solid tumours. Glaxo and Iteos plan to start combination studies of EOS-448 with Glaxo cancer drug Dostarlimab.

Dr Hal Barron, Glaxo science chief, said the trials could prove critical as fewer than 30 per cent of patients respond to similar drugs.

He added: ‘We believe that [these] combinations could become transformative for many patients.’