GSK bets on asthma drug startup Aiolos

Jan. 9, 2024

GSK will acquire respiratory-focused biotech Aiolos for $1 billion upfront and up to $400 million in potential milestones.

The acquisition provides GSK with access to Aiolos’ AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class, long-acting antithymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody ready to enter phase 2 development
for the treatment of adults with asthma, with potential for additional indications including chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

"Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics portfolio, including to the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed," said Tony Wood, GSK's chief scientific officer.

Based in San Francisco and London, Aiolos launched last fall with an oversubscribed $245 million Series A investment, with the goal of advancing AIO-001, which it had licensed outside of Greater China from Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals.

The 2022-2023 respiratory season, dubbed the 'tripledemic,' was a maelstrom of influenza, RSV and COVID-19. A spike in demand, paired with several supply shortages for various reasons, has led drugmakers to build up porfolios in the growing market.  

Last year, GSK paid $2 billion to acquire Canada-based biotech Bellus Health, getting access to Bellus’ specialty medicines and respiratory pipeline, including a potential best-in-class treatment for refractory chronic cough.