GSK has acquired Elsie Biotechnologies for $50m to unlock the potential of oligonucleotide therapeutics.

Elsie Biotechnologies has been at the forefront of oligonucleotide therapeutic development, focusing on increasing potency, reducing toxicity, and optimising delivery to harness the potential of the modality fully.

The acquisition is set to enhance GSK’s research and development (R&D) in gene modulation.

Elsie Biotechnologies offers technologies that can modulate gene expression.

This feature is particularly valuable for targeting therapeutic areas that are not responsive to traditional small-molecule drugs or biologics.

The integration of Elsie’s technologies for the discovery, synthesis and delivery of oligonucleotide into GSK’s R&D framework is expected to advance the company’s platform capabilities significantly.

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The move follows a successful initial partnership between the two companies which began in July 2023 and allowed GSK to assess and validate Elsie’s technology.

GSK’s use of AI and machine learning, combined with data from Elsie’s platform, aims to develop predictive models that will streamline future oligonucleotide design.

GSK chief scientific officer Tony Wood stated: “We have already made great strides in oligonucleotide drug development through our work in chronic hepatitis B and steatotic liver disease, and are thrilled to work alongside the talented team at Elsie to accelerate a next-generation oligonucleotide platform.

“By bringing together Elsie’s expertise and our internal capabilities, we can design and develop oligonucleotides for difficult-to-treat diseases of scale with larger patient populations.”

The deal aligns with GSK’s strategy of merging science and technology to expedite drug development and deliver new treatments to patients more effectively.

The company is currently developing oligonucleotide therapeutics for chronic hepatitis B and steatotic liver disease, among other conditions.

Elsie chief operating officer Kevin Green stated: “We are thrilled to be a part of GSK and work alongside the talented R&D team dedicated to oligonucleotide drug development. We believe our platform will make significant contributions to the field and we believe GSK is the best partner to help advance this effort.”

The latest development comes after GSK announced its plans to divest 385 million ordinary shares in consumer healthcare company Haleon, in May 2023.