GlaxoSmithKline eyes $1.7B bid for respiratory partner Vectura: report

GSK building
Vectura's 2017 share price drop has made it vulnerable to a GlaxoSmithKline takeover, reports say. (GSK)

GlaxoSmithKline already partners with Vectura on respiratory therapies, but some say the British pharma giant could be looking to take the pair’s relationship one step further.

Glaxo is preparing a 175-pence-per-share bid for the Chippenham, U.K.-based company, sources told The Telegraph. That offer would value Vectura at close to £1.2 billion.

RELATED: Glaxo scores again as FDA strikes down would-be Advair copycats Hikma, Vectura

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If GSK does strike, it’ll be taking advantage of Vectura’s 2017 share price drop. In May, the FDA turned down a generic of GlaxoSmithKline blockbuster Advair from Vectura and partner Hikma, and investors have continued to pressure the stock as they await a final verdict from the regulatory agency, due this quarter, the newspaper notes.

And last week’s investment strategy update didn’t sit particularly well with shareholders, either. In it, Vectura said it would increase its focus on lower-risk pipeline development opportunities and “cease” investment in “relatively higher risk, novel molecule, early stage programs,” instead looking for partnerships in that arena.

Glaxo knows what it would be getting itself into with a Vectura buy. The drugmaker licensed Vectura's technology for products such as Breo and Anoro, and Vectura boasts some “smart inhaler” technology that GSK may be interested in, too, The Telegraph notes.

RELATED: GlaxoSmithKline eyes Pfizer's OTC unit. But will a buy imperil its dividend?

While CEO Emma Walmsley has made clear that reviving Glaxo’s pharma portfolio is a top priority,, right now all eyes are on the company’s consumer unit—at least when it comes to M&A. GSK is weighing a bid for Pfizer’s on-the-block OTC division, along with rivals including Reckitt Benckiser.