GSK invests in new biotech company


GSK has invested £1.25 million in Autifony Therapeutics Limited, a new UK-based biotechnology company which aims to develop pharmacological treatments for hearing loss.

Autifony has been established by a trio of senior research executives at GSK and starts with a number of pre-candidates assets in exchange for an initial 25.4% equity stake.

Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Charles Large says there are no current pharmacological treatments for hearing loss or tinnitus and the company’s goal is to find “effective new medicines”.

The investment by GSK has been joined by the Imperial Innovations Group and SV Life Sciences, both of which have put in £10 million.

For their investment, GSK will receive 850,000 ordinary shares, as well as more than 571,000 ordinary shares in recognition of £400,000 worth of development funded by Glaxo on behalf of Autifony.

GSK will also be eligible to receive an additional 550,000 shares at a pre-determined milestone, at which time it will make a further investment and own 13.2% of the biotech firm on a fully diluted basis.

Alongside Charles Long, who was previously the director of molecular and cellular biology at GSK, Giuseppe Alvaro, himself a previously chemistry leader within GSK’s neuroscience division, is part of Autifony’s founding members.

Allan Baxter, a former senior vice president of medicines development at GSK, and John Berriman, a non-executive chairman at Glaxo, are also part of the board members at the company.