Aptuit is to acquire GSK’s Italian R&D centre, take on its 500 employees and become part of the big pharma’s CRO network.
Buying the neuroscience research site strengthens the scientific expertise and capabilities at Aptuit. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is selling the site as part of cutbacks to its neuroscience research network but will still be able to benefit from its capabilities by outsourcing to Aptuit.
Similar site sale and service provision deals have previously been inked between Eli Lilly and Covance, and PPD and Merck & Co. In a press release, Tim Tyson, CEO of Aptuit, said the deal with GSK “is an example of the developing new model of outsourced R&D collaborations”.
Tyson expanded on this in an Aptuit video . He said the deal “centres around the new focus on strategic partnerships and increased outsourced R&D and not just a tactical addition to capacity”.
From the site in Verona, Italy Aptuit will also provide integrated development services to its other global clients. In particular, the site can support clients in the development of therapeutics in the growth, high-value area of neuroscience, as well as cardiovascular and infectious diseases.
The new site has capabilities in drug discovery, lead optimisation, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) development and manufacturing and preclinical and clinical support.
Aptuit will integrate the new site with the operations it has in 18 other locations to strengthen the platform it has to serve its global clients. Taking on the employees at Verona will add approximately 500 people to the workforce at Aptuit, which totalled 2,500 before the acquisition.
R&D in Italy
Input from the Italian government and unions made the deal possible, said Moncef Slaoui, chairman of GSK research and development (R&D). Earlier this year workers held protests against the proposed closure of the site.
Slaoui said the “innovative approach” taken by GSK and Aptuit “provides a modern option for drug discovery expertise to remain as part of the science research community in Italy”.