GlaxoSmithKline said it had agreed to buy biotechnology company Sirtris Pharmaceuticals for $720 million in cash, in hopes its medicines that modulate an aging-related family of enzymes will be effective against a wide range of diseases.
Glaxo said it will commence a cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of Sirtris , at $22.50 per share.
That reflects a 84 percent premium to their closing price of $12.23 Tuesday.
"Through the acquisition of Sirtris, GlaxoSmithKline will significantly enhance its metabolic, neurology, immunology and inflammation research efforts by establishing a presence in the field of sirtuins, a recently discovered class of enzymes that are believed to be involved in the aging process," the companies said in a joint release.
The companies said Sirtris has initially been exploring whether, by activating the enzymes, its experimental drugs can effectively treat Type 2 diabetes -- the most common form of diabetes which is highly linked to obesity and generally develops in adulthood.
Glaxo said it plans to retain all Sirtris employees, which will continue to operate in Cambridge, Massachusetts as an independent unit.
"Modulation of this family of enzymes is a potentially transformative science that could address diseases associated with metabolism and aging such as diabetes, muscle wasting, and neurodegeneration," Moncef Slaoui, Glaxo's research chief, said in the release.