GSK acquire biotech firm Domantis

A Cambridge-based biotech firm backed by venture capitalists 3i has been acquired by one of the biggest companies in the industry.


Domantis, founded in 2000 by Dr Ian Tomlinson and Sir Gregory Winter, has been acquired by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a deal worth £230m.

The company develops therapies based on extracts of human antibodies known as domain antibodies or ‘dAbs’.

Domantis use dAbs to produce treatments for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, pulmonary disease, and multiple myeloma.

Following the acquisition, Domantis will become a part of GSK’s Biopharmaceuticals Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery (CEDD), but will retain its Cambridge base.

Robert Connelly, Domantis’ founding chief executive officer, said: “The agreement with GSK allows us to embed our R&D organisation intact within a company committed to fully exploiting every potential therapeutic application of dAbs.”

3i has invested in the company on two occasions, in 2004 and 2005, injecting in £17.5m and £17m respectively.

The VC is now selling its entire stake and has generated an internal rate of return of over 100%.

Nigel Pitchford, a partner at 3i, said his company were initially attracted to Domantis because of its strong IP and technology platform.

“We have enjoyed an active partnership with Bob Connelly and his team and believe Domantis, under GSK, is set for a very strong future,” he said.

3i was advised on the sale by Morrison Foerster, Domantis’ took legal advice from Wilmer Hale.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006

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