GSK nabs pipeline prospects, conjugate vaccine tech with GlycoVaxyn buyout

Since forging a scientific collaboration in 2012, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has held a minority stake in Swiss biotech GlycoVaxyn. Now, it's forking over $190 million to acquire the remaining shares and take full ownership of the company.

With GlycoVaxyn will come some proprietary tech that the drugmaker says could help it develop new prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for a host of bacterial diseases. And that tech may eventually help the company streamline its conjugate vaccine manufacturing process, too.

Glaxo will also pick up "a small number" of early-stage vaccine candidates in development to ward off bacterial infections like pneumonia, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus and shigellosis, it said Wednesday.

GSK Vaccines Chairman Moncef Slaoui

"This is an exciting opportunity to expand our research efforts to develop a new generation of vaccines for common and severe bacterial infections, for many of which there are currently no effective vaccines," GSK Vaccines Chairman Moncef Slaoui said in a statement.

It's not the only pipeline boost GSK will get this year, with its multibillion-dollar asset swap with Novartis ($NVS) nearing close. The Swiss pharma's stable of in-development vaccines includes prospects to prevent hospital infections, tuberculosis, meningitis and a wide range of other maladies.

When that transaction wraps up, it'll vault the British drugmaker to the top spot in the vaccines world--a position the GlycoVaxyn buy could help solidify if GSK can eventually bring its pipeline hopefuls to market.

But in the meantime, the companies are determined not to let the tiny biotech get lost in Glaxo's wider vaccines operations. The two companies plan to develop a working relationship that maintains "the autonomy and agility of GlycoVaxyn whilst delivering the scale and support that GSK can provide," they said.

- read GSK's release

Special Report: The top 5 vaccine makers by 2013 revenue - GlaxoSmithKline