Glaxo Hikes Stake in Theravance - Analyst Blog
British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) upped its holding in biotech company Theravance Inc. (THRX) following the completion of the sale of 5,750,000 shares at $22.50 per share. The transaction, worth approximately $129.4 million, allows Glaxo to hold approximately 19% of Theravance shares going forward.
The increased holding by the pharma major reflects the confidence in the Relovair program, under which the companies are looking to replace one of Glaxo's best selling drugs Advair by evaluating treatment options for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In November 2002, Theravance entered into a collaboration agreement with GlaxoSmithKline. Under the deal, the companies are looking to develop and commercialize a once-daily long-acting-beta 2 agonist (LABA) product candidate both as a single agent (for treating COPD patients) and also in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) for the treatment of asthma and/or a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) for COPD. These programs are collectively known as the Relovair program.
In September 2010, the companies presented encouraging data from a mid-stage study (n=60) on their combination therapy Relovair for treating COPD patients. The data from the double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study was presented at the European Respiratory Society congress in Spain.
The late-stage studies for Relovair in COPD and asthma began in October 2009 and March 2010, respectively. Even though Theravance's pipeline is quite impressive, we believe the main potential lies with the Relovair program.
Currently, we are Neutral on both Glaxo and Theravance. Our long-term stance is supported by the Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating) carried by both the companies.
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