GSK announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire startup Aiolos Bio for $1 billion, with up to an additional $400 million in regulatory milestone payments, gaining access to AIO-001, Aiolos’ investigational long-acting asthma treatment ready to enter phase 2 clinical development.

AIO-001 is a potentially best-in-class, long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody in development for the treatment of adult patients with asthma, with potential for additional indications including chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. 

AIO-001 was exclusively licensed to Aiolos outside of Greater China by Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd. 

“We have a proud heritage and deep development expertise in respiratory medicines, especially addressing diseases driven by IL-5 with high levels of eosinophils or high T2 inflammation,” says Tony Wood, chief scientific officer of GSK, in a release. “Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics portfolio, including to the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed.”

Targeting the TSLP pathway addresses a key driver of the inflammatory response in major allergic and inflammatory diseases. TSLP is a clinically validated target in the treatment of asthma regardless of biomarker status. Early studies of AIO-001 have shown initial safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and biological activity in healthy volunteers and asthma patients. Additionally, AIO-001 has the potential to be administered every six months due to its enhanced potency and half-life extension technology.

Khurem Farooq, CEO of Aiolos, founded in 2023, says in a release, “We believe that this transaction speaks to the high potential of our long-acting anti-TSLP monoclonal antibody, AIO-001. By uniting with GSK, a leader with decades of experience developing respiratory therapies and a shared commitment to improving patient lives, we’re confident that we can rapidly advance this therapy in the hopes of significantly reducing the treatment burden for patients.”

This transaction is subject to customary conditions, including applicable regulatory agency clearances under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act in the US.

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