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GSK to Boost Vaccine Portfolio With Affinivax Acquisition

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GSK plc (GSK - Free Report) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Massachusetts-based privately held biopharmaceutical company, Affinivax, Inc., wherein it will acquire the latter for an upfront payment of $2.1 billion. GSK will also pay up to $1.2 billion in potential development milestones.

Per the agreement, GSK will acquire all the outstanding shares of Affinivax. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.

With the above acquisition, GSK is looking to boost its vaccines pipeline and get access to a new, potentially disruptive technology to build a strong portfolio of innovative vaccines and specialty medicines.

Shares of GSK have lost 0.1% so far this year against the industry’s increase of 6.5%.

Zacks Investment Research
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Affinivax is engaged in the development of a novel class of vaccines.

Per the press release, Affinivax has developed a novel vaccine technology — Multiple Antigen Presenting System or MAPS, which provides broader coverage against prevalent pneumococcal serotypes, potentially creating higher immunogenicity than current vaccines.

Affinivax’s lead vaccine candidate (AFX3772) includes 24 pneumococcal polysaccharides plus two conserved pneumococcal proteins (compared to up to 20 serotypes in presently approved vaccines).

AFX3772 is currently being evaluated in phase I/II studies. In the adult phase I/II studies, the candidate was well tolerated and demonstrated good immune responses versus the current standard of care. A phase III study is expected to begin shortly.

Also, phase I/II studies evaluating the use of AFX3772 in pediatric patients is expected to begin later in 2022.

The acquisition, if successfully closed, will add AFX3772 to GSK’s vaccine pipeline. The company already boasts a strong portfolio of vaccines approved for various indications.

In April 2022, GSK announced that it will change its company name to GSK plc from GlaxoSmithKline plc from a date in mid-May 2022. The company’s stock ticker on the New York Stock Exchange will not change though.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

GSK currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Leap Therapeutics, Inc. (LPTX - Free Report) , Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. (AGLE - Free Report) and EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (EYPT - Free Report) , all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Leap Therapeutics’ loss per share has narrowed 11.1% for 2022 and 5.9% for 2023 in the past 60 days.

Earnings of Leap Therapeutics have surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the same on the other occasion. LPTX delivered an earnings surprise of 1.92%, on average.

AegleaBio Therapeutics’ loss per share estimates narrowed 18.8% for 2022 and 30.2% for 2023 in the past 60 days.

Earnings of AegleaBio Therapeutics have surpassed estimates in two of the trailing four quarters and missed the same on the other two occasions. AGLE delivered an earnings surprise of 9.47%, on average.

EyePoint Pharmaceuticals’ loss per share estimates narrowed 8.7% for 2022 and 12.5% for 2023 in the past 60 days.

Earnings of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals have surpassed estimates in one of the trailing four quarters and missed the same on the other three occasions. EYPT reported an earnings surprise of -5.80%, on average.