GSK bets that hungry spinouts can upstage fat pharma

A group of 14 researchers at GlaxoSmithKline recently left the pharma giant with an unusual severance package. They decamped with the patents on their work related to pain relief and used the IP foundation to start building a new biotech company, with GSK as a minority partner.

"Big pharma is looking at productivity," Clive Dix, who helms the startup dubbed Convergence, tells the Financial Times. "It sees smaller companies as more fleet of foot. We are more focused and will be very hungry because the only thing we think about is these drugs."

For the Financial Times, the startup is one in a series of recent examples showing Big Pharma's intention to rid itself of huge R&D operations in favor of partnerships with smaller companies which can operate more efficiently. Sanofi underscored that trend with last week's deal to outsource a chunk of its trial work to Covance, which in turn bought up a couple of the pharma company's facilities in Europe.

"As consolidation in the industry continues, there is going to be a lot more of these types of relationships," says Aptuit CEO Tim Tyson, who claims to be 10 times as efficient as a company like GSK. While CROs may stand a good chance at proving that, Thomson Reuters has crunched the numbers and concluded that some of these hungry biotechs could be starving for cash, leaving them too weak to be as swift and efficient as companies like GSK are hoping.

- here's the article from the Financial Times