GSK buys Sirtris for $720M

GlaxoSmithKline is acquiring Cambridge, MA-based Sirtris Pharmaceuticals for $720 million. GSK will pay $22.50 per share for the company--an 84 percent premium to Sirtris's closing price Tuesday. GSK says that the buyout will boost its metabolic, neurology, immunology and inflammation research efforts by establishing a presence in the field of sirtuins--a class of enzymes that may be involved in the aging process.

Sirtris has grabbed headlines for it work in the field of aging. Earlier this year the company presented positive, early-stage data for its closely-watched therapy based on resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine that has been linked to increased longevity. In a small diabetes trial the drug delivered positive safety data and demonstrated its ability to cut blood glucose levels.

"Modulation of this family of enzymes is a potentially transformative science that could address diseases associated with metabolism and aging such as diabetes, muscle wasting, and neurodegeneration," commented Moncef Slaoui, Chairman GSK R&D. "This acquisition continues GSK's strategy of pursuing the best new science, externally or internally, to bring new medicines to patients and value to the GSK pipeline." Sirtris will remain an autonomous unit. Sirtris was a 2007 Fierce 15 company.

- see GlaxoSmithKline's release
- read this Wall Street Journal report for more

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