Glaxo Mulling $1B Deal with Qualcomm

Qmed Staff

January 21, 2016

2 Min Read
Glaxo Mulling $1B Deal with Qualcomm

British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline may be looking to look beyond the humble pill by considering a merger with chipmaker and digital health pioneer Qualcomm.

Nancy Crotti

GSK is looking for ways to develop medical technology, according to Bloomberg, which reported the possible deal, which could be worth upwards of $1 billion. People who asked not to be named told the news service that the talks are preliminary and private.Neither company provided a comment to Bloomberg.

Glaxo has previously employed joint ventures to expand its businesses. It also established a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in companies that develop miniature, implantable devices it calls "bioelectronic" medicines and technologies, and created a $5 million "innovation challenge fund" to bolster their R&D. 

In recent years, the lines between the pharma and medtech sector have blurred, and many big pharma companies are looking for tech-based strategies to help them gain a competitive edge--for instance improving drug-delivery methods to help drug companies retain market share when their products go off patent.

Another key problem for pharma companies is patient compliance, which remains stubbornly low despite a variety of attempts to help patients remember to take the pills they are prescribed.

For its part, Qualcomm has certainly been busy establishing relationships with both pharma and medtech companies.  About a year ago, its Qualcomm Life subsidiary signed up Swiss pharmaceutical and diagnostics company Roche to use Qualcomm's 2net technology improve remote monitoring and management of chronic disease patients.

The San Diego, CA-based communications company has a similar partnership with pharmaceutical company Novartis, which chose the 2net technology to collect and aggregate biometric data from medical devices during clinical trials and transmit them securely via a cloud-based platform to the Novartis study coordinator.

Earlier this month, Qualcomm announced that it had expanded its collaboration with Novartis. Qualcomm Life is developing the reference design for a low-power, disposable module to connect the next generation of Novartis' BreezhalerCOPD treatment with 2net. Novartis plans to launch the connected Breezhaler in 2019.

Qualcomm also has an agreement to connect Walgreens' mobile and Web applications to the medical device and care coordination parts of the drug store chain's customer loyalty program.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman declined to comment on the news.

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