GlaxoSmithKline signs on LimmaTech for vaccine R&D

When GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) bought out GlycoVaxyn for $190 million early this year, it gained a set of early-stage vaccines and commissioned GlycoVaxyn's team to create a new company around its existing research operation. That company is LimmaTech Biologics, which announced the start of its operations on Friday.

While LimmaTech is not owned by GSK, the two have struck a 5-year agreement for LimmaTech to develop novel bioconjugate antigen-based vaccines exclusively for GSK. And though GSK retains full ownership of any vaccine products developed by GlycoVaxyn as well as any new candidates LimmaTech may come up with, the biotech can develop therapeutics outside of vaccines.

"We are extremely pleased with this research and development agreement between GSK and LimmaTech Biologics and this very innovative business relationship," said Veronica Gambillara Fonck, managing director of LimmaTech.

"Whilst we aim to retain the agility and innovativeness of a small biotech company in LimmaTech, we will benefit tremendously from the support, expertise and sheer development power that GSK brings," she said.

Trying to marry Big Pharma support with the dexterity of a biotech is not new for GSK, which has split its R&D up into a number of smaller teams. On the vaccines side though, it's been taking a different approach. GSK relocated its U.S. vaccine R&D operations from Cambridge, MA, and Philadelphia to Rockville, MD, earlier this year. That site joined its two other global vaccine R&D hubs in Rixensart, Belgium and Siena Italy.

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