Skip to Content

Human Genome Sciences Rises on Sale Rumors

From Associated Press (October 18, 2011)

NEW YORK -- Shares of Human Genome Sciences Inc. climbed Tuesday on a report saying Human Genome Sciences may be acquired by GlaxoSmithKline PLC, its partner on the lupus drug Benlysta.

THE SPARK: The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, said that U.K. drug maker GlaxoSmithKline might buy Human Genome Sciences. The paper didn't cite any people with knowledge of a possible deal, but said there was "revived speculation" of a bid by GlaxoSmithKline.

The companies are marketing Benlysta together in the U.S. and GlaxoSmithKline is in charge of marketing the drug in Europe. Human Genome Sciences, which is based in Rockville, Md., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

THE BIG PICTURE: Benlysta is designed to treat flare-ups and pain caused by the autoimmune disease lupus. It is the first new drug approved to treat lupus in 50 years, and analysts have predicted that sales will reach billions of dollars a year. But so far, sales have been disappointing.

In September, a unit of the U.K.'s publicly funded National Health Service recommended that the NHS not cover Benlysta because its costs did not justify the expense. In the U.S., a patient's first year of treatment with Benlysta costs $40,000, and after that, it costs $35,000 per year.

SHARE ACTION: The stock rose $1.23, or 10.9 percent, to $12.48 in afternoon trading. Human Genome Sciences shares reached a peak for the year at $30.15 on April 14, about a month after the Food and Drug Administration approved Benlysta. The stock fell to a 52-week low of $10.40 on Thursday.



Posted: October 2011