GSK completes acquisition of Sierra Oncology for US$1.9B

USA – GSK has completed its acquisition of the biopharmaceutical company Sierra Oncology, boosting its portfolio of oncology medicines.

The deal was announced back in April this year and sees GSK acquiring Sierra Oncology for a total of US$1.9 billion.

The conclusion of the deal comes after the shareholders of Sierra Oncology approved the takeover on 29 June this year. Sierra develops targeted treatments for rare kinds of cancer.

The acquisition will give GSK access to Sierra’s late-stage candidate, a late-stage therapy. It has a dual mechanism of action to address crucial unmet medical needs of myelofibrosis patients with anemia.

Myelofibrosis (MF) is a rare but debilitating hematological malignancy, with a poor prognosis and very limited therapeutic options.


Currently, there are three approved therapies for MF: Incyte/Novartis’s Jakafi/Jakavi (ruxolitinib), Bristol Myers Squibb’s Inrebic (fedratinib), and CTI BioPharma’s Vonjo (pacritinib), all of which are JAK inhibitors.

Momelotinib has inhibitory properties along three vital signaling pathways, which may aid in providing beneficial treatment effects on anemia and lower dependence on transfusion while treating of symptoms myelofibrosis and splenic response.

The standard of care for treating MF is Jakafi/Jakavi, which demonstrates superlative efficacy in reducing splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) and constitutional symptoms such as night sweats, weight loss, fever, among others, both of which are cardinal presentations of MF.

Importantly, JAK inhibitors are intrinsically myelosuppressive and prolonged use often causes dose-limiting anemia and thrombocytopenia, therefore leaving patients with no effective treatments after JAK inhibitor therapy failure.

Aiming to mitigate this issue is Sierra Oncology’s a novel JAK/ALK2 inhibitor, momelotinib, has shown positive topline results from a phase III clinical trial investigating the drug in 195 patients.

The study met all primary and key secondary endpoints, demonstrating that momelotinib achieved a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit on symptoms, splenic response, and anemia.

Furthermore, GSK noted that momelotinib complements its Blenrep (belantamab mafodotin).

Sierra Oncology has submitted a New Drug Application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for momelotinib and is planning regulatory submission in Europe in the second half of 2022. 

Momelotinib has inhibitory properties along three vital signaling pathways, which may aid in providing beneficial treatment effects on anemia and lower dependence on transfusion while treating of symptoms myelofibrosis and splenic response.

The launch of momelotinib in the US is scheduled for next year. It could potentially support expanding the specialty medicines business of GSK on obtaining approval.

In June this year, Sierra filed a New Drug Application for momelotinib with the US Food and Drug Administration while GSK plans to seek regulatory approval in Europe in the second half of this year.

GSK says that the acquisition builds upon its strategy of developing a strong portfolio of specialty medicines and vaccines.

GSK chief commercial officer Luke Miels said: “This acquisition expands our innovative oncology portfolio, demonstrating our commitment to improving patient outcomes and creating value for shareholders.”

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