Exclusive: GSK set for Human Genome takeover - sources

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:11am EDT
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By Soyoung Kim and Ben Hirschler

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline is expected to announce a deal to buy Human Genome Sciences for about $2.8 billion as soon as Monday, ending a three-month hostile pursuit of the U.S. biotech company on friendly terms after sweetening its offer.

Sources familiar with the situation said Britain's biggest drugmaker was set to pay around $14 per share, up from $13 offered previously, which Human Genome - an early pioneer of gene-based drug discovery - had rejected as inadequate.

Biotechnology companies are in increasing demand as Big Pharma companies seek new products to replace older medicines that are going off patent in the biggest wave of drug patent expiries in history.

The acquisition will secure GSK full rights to Benlysta, a recently-launched drug for lupus, a disease of the immune system, and other experimental medicines for diabetes and heart disease.

A deal is expected to be announced before the U.S. stock market opens, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is not public.

The agreement has yet to be finalized and the companies are still working out last-minute details, the sources said.

"It looks like a great conclusion for Glaxo. At around $14 a share, it is marginally higher than they first pitched but lower than I expected them to have to pay," said Navid Malik, an industry analyst at Cenkos Securities.

He sees the deal as a "nice to have" rather than a need to have for GSK, whose $112 billion market value dwarves that of Human Genome. GSK will now enjoy 100 percent of the upside if the biotech firm's drugs live up to their promise. Shares in the British group traded 0.5 percent higher on Monday morning.   Continued...

Signage is pictured on the company headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline in west London July 21, 2008. GlaxoSmithKline announce their half yearly results on Wednesday July 23. REUTERS/Toby Melville