GSK buys GlycoVaxyn for $212 mln

Sofinnova Partners has sold GlycoVaxyn to GlaxoSmithKline for $212 million. Schlieren, Switzerland-based GlycoVaxyn develops conjugate vaccines to treat bacterial infections. GSK was a minority investor of GlycoVaxyn.


Paris, France – February 11th 2015. Sofinnova Partners, a Paris-based venture capital firm, today announced the sale of portfolio company GlycoVaxyn, a leader in the development of innovative conjugate vaccines, to GlaxoSmithKline for $212 M. Sofinnova Partners seeded the company at its inception in 2006 and fueled its growth by remaining the largest shareholder to date.

Specialized in the development of next-generation conjugate vaccines, GlycoVaxyn’s has created a revolutionary bio-conjugation platform that allows to produce conjugate vaccines in a biological process that circumvents many of the challenges involved in currently used chemical methods. This proprietary platform allows to make the development of complex multivalent vaccines easier, faster and more reliable. Conjugate vaccines have been successfully used over the last four decades to prevent bacterial infections like meningitis and pneumonia and conjugate vaccines account for about 30% of annual vaccines sales worldwide.

Since backing Michael Wacker, the founder and Chief Scientific Officer, in the seed investment, Sofinnova Partners played a key role in GlycoVaxyn’s development leveraging on its extensive industry network. Over the years, it further financed the company, helped bring other top-tier investors into the company and contributed to consolidate the leadership through the hiring of Philippe Dro, GlycoVaxyn’s CEO and former CEO of Endoart, a Sofinnova Partners’ portfolio company sold to Allergan in 2005, of Gerd Zettlmeissl, GlycoVaxyn’s chairman, formerly the CEO of Intercell, and of Paul-Henri Lambert, Chairman of GlycoVaxyn Scientific Advisory Board. Today GlycoVaxyn employs 50 people, has a portfolio of five products into development, and two major R&D partnerships with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline.

Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners and GlycoVaxyn board member, said: “Backing dynamic and visionary scientists and entrepreneurs, around a market breaking technology with broad patent protection, is a key theme for Sofinnova Partners. GlycoVaxyn is a perfect example of that strategy. As company backers, we mobilize our financial and network resources to help entrepreneurs develop their companies.”

Philippe Dro, Chief Executive Officer of GlycoVaxyn added: “As a historical investor, Sofinnova Partners has proved its capacity to act as a genuine value added VC with a long term approach. From the seed funding until today, as the largest shareholder, it actively contributed to our growth.”

Glycovaxyn is Sofinnova Partners’ 14th exit or IPO in the 24 months, for a total enterprise value of $3.4 billion. In the past five years, Sofinnova Partners has generated exits and IPOs totaling $6.5 billion in enterprise value with transactions including the trade sale of Omthera Pharmaceuticals to AZ or of EOS to Clovis Oncology and the Nasdaq listing of DBV Technologies (DBVT) or of Ascendis Pharma (ASND).