GlaxoSmithKline Finally Finds a Buyer for Its Paris R&D Site, 57 Staffers Affected

Published: Sep 28, 2016

GlaxoSmithKline Finally Finds a Buyer for Its Paris R&D Site, 57 Staffers Affected September 28, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

DIJON, France – After more than a year of being on the market, London-based GlaxoSmithKline finally found a buyer for one of its research and development sites in France. Oncodesign will acquire the site, as well as 57 GSK employees in the deal.

Under terms of the deal, GSK will provide Oncodesign €35 million in support over a four year period. Oncodesign will use the funding to integrate the site and its capabilities into the company’s business. The funds will also be used to ensure the continued employment of the 57 GSK staffers who will be switching companies, GSK said in a statement announcing the deal. The property and employee transfer is expected to be completed by the beginning of December.

Philippe Genne, founder and chief executive officer of Oncodesign, said the addition of the 57 GSK staffers will strengthen Oncodesign’s strategic business without any “dilutive impact” on company shareholders.

“It will allow Oncodesign to boost its Drug Discovery programs and Experimentation businesses and to position itself as a leading player in the business of Full Drug Discovery Services, a new market for Oncodesign,” Genne said in a statement.

Dave Allen, senior vice president of GSK R&D said in a statement that the 57 employees transferring to Oncodesign as part of the agreement will allow the scientist’s drug discovery capabilities to continue to be used to advance human medicines.

The François Hyafil Research Centre was originally established in 1987 and updated in 2010. Most recently the site served as a Flexible Discovery Unit that provided scientific expertise and resources to support drug discovery and incubate new science within GSK. The facility is capable of multiple uses, including delivery of medicinal chemistry, biology, in vivo pharmacology and drug metabolism/pharmacokinetics capabilities with experience in many therapeutic areas, the company said.

Genne said the addition of the GSK staff and facility will help the company speed up its internal drug discovery programs. In July, Oncodesign teamed with Cyclopharma to launch a clinical study focusing on the evaluation of the company’s first radiotracer in humans. The radiotracer will be used to measure increased EGFR kinase activity during the development of a lung cancer tumor. Mutations activating EGFR kinase are responsible for non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma, which accounts for 10 to 15 percent of lung cancers and affects 6,000 patients each year in France alone, the company said in July.

Although GSK is unloading the R&D site, the company continues to employ more than 3.500 employees in France across three production sites Mayenne, Evreux and Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. Additionally the company operates a clinical research center in Marly-le-Roi. Over the last three years, GSK has invested around €83 million across its three productions sites in France and since 2015 more than 300 jobs have been created at these sites, the company said.

Last year, GSK began to streamline and consolidate its R&D operations around two major centers, one in New Jersey and the other in the United Kingdom. The consolidation resulted in a reduction of a number of satellite R& sites, including one in Pennsylvania as well as the site in France. GSK initiated the streamlining process after the company saw operating profit decline by 37 percent during a nine-month period last year. The decline occurred in part due to declining revenue from its blockbuster asthma and COPD drug Advair, which is facing competition from AstraZeneca PLC 's Symbicort and Merck & Co. ’s Dulera.

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