Life Science Today

GSK + Affinivax, Pfizer – Haleon, Regeneron, Roche + Repare

June 07, 2022 Noah Goodson, PhD Season 3 Episode 102
Life Science Today
GSK + Affinivax, Pfizer – Haleon, Regeneron, Roche + Repare
Show Notes Transcript

Pharma buys, pharma splits, pharma trades, and oncology biobucks from pharma

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Story References
GSK + Affinivax
Pfizer – Haleon

Roche + Repare

About the Show
Life Science Today is your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. Expect weekly highlights about new technologies, pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions, news about the moves of venture capital and private equity, and how the stock market responds to biotech IPOs. Life Science Today also explores trends around clinical research, including the evolving patterns that determine how drugs and therapies are developed and approved. It’s news, with a dash of perspective, focused on the life science industry. 


Welcome to Life Science Today, your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. I’m your host, Dr. Noah Goodson. This week, pharma buys, pharma splits, pharma trades, and oncology biobucks from pharma. 


The views expressed on Life Science Today are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organizations with which they are affiliated. 


GSK 3.3B Affinivax 

Early last week, GSK announced the $3.3B acquisition of Affinivax, including a $2.1B upfront payment. The move comes just weeks after GSK announced they were cleaning house, with a particular focus on cutting their salesforce. While the vaccine frenzy may have diminished from 2020, it’s no surprise that vaccine companies remain are hot targets. Since closing a $226M series C in early 2021, Affinivax has gained major ground on their potential pneumoniae vaccine AFX3772. Preliminary data suggests it may outperform Pfizer’s Prevnar13. Now it should be remembered that Merck (MSD) also has significant investments in the pneumonia arena so any success will not be without competition. Affinivax was likely facing an uphill battle against these two giants, but with GSK’s backing, they may be better positioned to accelerate late-stage clinical development of a widely leveraged vaccine. In addition to their leading candidate, Affinivax has developed a core platform called Multiple Antigen Present System (MAPS) technology. Which can be leveraged to rapidly present immunogenic epitopes of polysaccharides and protein antigens. This theoretically allows for the rapid generation of high immune-response vaccines. 

As GSK continues to reset after splitting off their consumer health division into the newly formed Haleon we can expect more repositioning. This will probably include additional acquisitions, but it may also mean closing some portfolio directions and continuing to re-create their market positioning and sales strategy. 

Pfizer to Sell Haleon Stake

Speaking of GSK and Haleon, Pfizer has announced they will sell their stake in the consumer organization as soon as the de-merger is complete. GSK’s consumer health venture was a joint-enterprise with GSK owning 68% and Pfizer 32%. These combined moves basically align Pfizer and GSK together in saying, “hey we don’t want to be in consumer health as our core developmental business.” This is exactly on trend right now with basically every other major pharma. Unilever, if you remember,  tried to acquire GSKs consumer health for $68B but late last year but was eventually rejected at the beginning of this year with GSK opting to move toward an internal spin-off instead. 

J&J is also splitting off their consumer health division as the pharma shuffle continues through 2022. Mega-moves, like the creation of Haleon and Pfizer selling their stake will also play into a reshuffling of the competitive landscape. As layer upon layer of biobuck’s, competitive focus, and licensing deals splays out across these companies, who is competing and how can become fairly opaque. At times this will cause seemingly unrelated strategic pivots in other parts of a portfolios. We’ll keep a weather eye-out for trickle-down repositioning across the market. 

Regeneron is Taking Over Libtayo for $1.1B+

Speaking of a web of interconnection – Regeneron and Sanofi have been long-term collaborators, but that is slowly changing. Almost 2 years ago in May 2020, Sanofi sold off their 20% stake in the company but continued with their collaborations including the highly successful Dupixent. Now, Regeneron who is buying out Sanofi’s stake in the recently approved PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo for $900M in upfront payments along with milestones and ongoing royalties. The deal also sees Regeneron take over the sales process with likely expansion after receiving approval in two additional indications last year. With additional oncology trials in progress for Libtayo, Regeneron is hoping to carve out a larger piece of the PD-1 market. 

Roche Builds Out Oncology Portfolio with $1.2B Collaboration  

Roche has signed a biobucks deal with Repare Therapeutics with $125M in upfront payments, and up to $1.2B in milestone. Roche will take over the clinical development of RP-3500 an oral small-molecule inhibitor that acts on tumors to suppress repair mechanisms and drive cell death. Data from their ongoing phase I/II trials suggests efficacy in with potential for functional treatment as a monotherapy and additional data suggesting potential as a combination   therapy. Repair stocks have gone through a general downward trend but are up approximately 60% on the news. 

Closing Credits                                                             

Thanks for joining me for Life Science Today, your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. Learn more at If you like what you hear, please tell a friend. Once again, I’m Dr. Noah Goodson, I’ll see you next week.