Glaxo Setting Up San Diego Outpost to Oversee its Westward Expansion

Xconomy San Diego — 

The British multinational pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) is establishing an R&D outpost in San Diego to help manage its relationships with venture capital firms, and to prospect along the West Coast for new opportunities in drugs, biologics, vaccines, and other products.

It will be GSK’s first office in San Diego, according to Damien McDevitt, a GSK vice president for business development in R&D drug development, who has been overseeing the initiative. He will head the new West Coast hub here.

In an e-mail statement released through GSK spokeswoman Melinda Stubbee, McDevitt says, “GSK is committed to accessing innovation from outside our walls and the U.S. West Coast is a very rich source of novel ideas with high quality scientific and medical innovation.We are excited to have a new R&D base to enhance our interactions with existing collaborators and to access new opportunities in the region.”

Damien McDevitt

Damien McDevitt

In his e-mail, McDevitt writes that scientific and medical innovation in the West Coast is becoming increasingly important for GSK’s drug development pipeline. GSK, which is the world’s fourth-biggest pharmaceutical giant, began its westward expansion under CEO Andrew Witty, who sought to expand the funnel for new product development by making more investments and forging new partnerships after he was named CEO five years ago.

The company already has more than 20 significant collaborations in the region, including Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS), San Francisco’s Theravance (NASDAQ: THRX), and South San Francisco-based Five Prime Therapeutics.

Earlier this year, GSK also made a commitment to invest $50 million in a $250 million fund at Sanderling Ventures, the life sciences firm based in San Mateo and San Diego. GSK was the only Big Pharma company to invest in the fund and has a seat on the limited partner advisory committee. The tipping point for GSK’s San Diego beachhead, however, was … Next Page »

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