GSK Buys Sirtris Pharma for $9 million Per Employee

Apr.24.08 | About: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

In what must be the highest valuation paid for a Phase 2 drug and a pipeline of follow-ups (all in the same pharmacological category mind you), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) is paying nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for Sirtris.

That’s $180 million for each of Sirtris’ four years of existence.

Okay, so Sirtris has its share of sirtuin-activator patent applications pending (at least 180, according to the company). But those aren’t issued patents, are they?

Three-quarters of a billion. That’s roughly three-quarters of a billion for each of Sirtris’ one issued U.S. patent.

And they’ve got a small-molecule drug that apparently has cleared Phase 2. But that leaves another development phase and a regulatory review to go before even getting to market by my math.

Three-quarters of a billion with at least four more years of development time.

History tells me that pioneering small molecules for diabetes that have cleared this development hurdle have roughly a coin’s toss odds of eventually gaining major marketing approval, and a much lower chance of making it to market and becoming blockbusters.

And yet.

Three-quarters of a billion. Roughly $9 million per Sirtris employee.

Are you feeling valued yet?