GSK looks to Japan for new biotech deals

GlaxoSmithKline is taking its cash and development strategy to Japan, where it's planning to strike a series of new development deals with small and medium-sized biotech companies.

Marc Dunoyer, Glaxo's Asia Pacific president, tells the Financial Times that the big pharma company will be on the lookout for development programs in rare diseases--a new focus for the company--as well as other new R&D fields. And while he says the primary interest will be in Japanese biotech companies, Glaxo will cast a wide net in its search for new collaborations.

The venerable FT noted that the UK drug company and its check book will likely get a warm reception in Japan, where small and medium-sized companies often face a challenge raising sufficient investment capital. And Glaxo should be able to find some attractive bargains.

"Based on the market cap of Japanese listed early-stage drug companies, it strikes me that you can buy into the early-stage pipeline very cheaply in Japan," says Pelham Smithers, an analyst. "If biotech companies in the states are listing at half-a-billion dollars, and ones in Japan are doing it at $50 million, the impression is that you're paying less for the early-stage pipeline."  

- here's the story from the Financial Times