GSK buys asthma drug developer for up to $1.4bn

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday agreed to buy Aiolos Bio for up to $1.4 billion, with focus on an asthma medication still at the testing stage.

The acquisition hands GSK access to AIO-001, a long-acting antibody which is ready to enter Phase II clinical development for the treatment of adults with asthma.

GSK said in a statement that the drug has the “potential to… reach a broader portion of asthma patients”.

AIO-001 was exclusively licensed to Aiolos outside of China by Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals, which initially developed the asthma treatment.

The purchase of Aiolos Bio, based in London and San Francisco, furthers GSK’s push into its core drugmaking business after the spinoff of consumer healthcare unit Haleon in 2022.

“We have a proud heritage and deep development expertise in respiratory medicines,” GSK’s chief scientific officer Tony Wood said in the statement.

“Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine… could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics portfolio.”