GSK buys new eczema drug in £146m deal

BRITISH pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday announced that it has bought the rights to a new anti-eczema drug from Swiss firm Basilea for an initial £146m.

Basilea will also receive additional payments of up to £50m if the drug is approved for use in the United States, as well as a substantial cut of future US sales. The news pushed Basilea’s share price up by four per cent.

The medicine, named Toctino, is the only prescription drug specifically approved for adults with chronic hand eczema whose ailment does not respond to steroids applied to the skin.

Its 2011 worldwide sales were £22m but analysts suggest its peak global sales could reach as much as $200m (£128m).

“This acquisition gives us an immediate opportunity to develop and expand the availability of this new and innovative product,” said Simon Jose, president of GSK subsidiary Stiefel.

Shares in GSK closed yesterday up 0.8 per cent at £14.51.