Human Genome agrees to Glaxo takeover terms

Trenton. N.J. - U.K. drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has secured its takeover of longtime partner Human Genome Sciences after agreeing to pay more, a move to expand GSK's drug portfolio in crucial areas: biologic drugs and treatments for the hundreds of millions of people with diabetes and heart disease.

The two companies said Monday that GSK will pay $3.6 billion, or $14.25 per share, for the U.S. biotechnology company. Directors of both companies have approved the deal.

Human Genome Sciences, based in Rockville, Md., agreed to the acquisition following a prolonged battle in which it had put up a "poison pill" defense. That would have diluted holdings if anyone attempted to acquire 15 percent or more of Human Genome stock without board approval.

The final price is up from GSK's previous offer of $13 per share, and almost double the $7.17 closing price for Human Genome shares on April 18, the last trading day before Glaxo's initial offer was publicly disclosed.

"This is a natural next step in our nearly 20-year relationship with HGS, and we look forward to working with HGS to integrate our businesses and to realizing the full value" of its approved and experimental drugs, GSK Chief Executive Sir Andrew Witty said in a statement.

Under the agreement, GSK gains full ownership of two experimental drugs plus Human Genome's only marketed medicine, Benlysta.

That's the first new drug approved in about 50 years for lupus, a chronic immune disorder believed to affect about 5 million people around the world. Most other treatments either simply reduce inflammation and pain, take months to improve symptoms or can cause a host of significant side effects.

Benlysta, a biologic drug produced in living cells, is meant to block or limit immune system attacks on the patient's cells and tissue, which cause inflammation and damage to organs. The drug contains a substance that reduces the number of a type of white blood cells believed to be involved in causing that damage.

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