Human Genome Sciences
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|Headquarters||Rockville, Maryland, U.S.|
|H. Thomas Watkins, CEO & Pres|
Number of employees
Human Genome Sciences is a biopharmaceutical corporation founded in 1992. It uses the human DNA sequence to develop protein and antibody drugs. As of 2008, it has drugs under development to treat such diseases as hepatitis C, systemic lupus erythmatosis, anthrax disease, and cancer. It collaborates with other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, for development partnerships and licensing.
The company was founded by William A. Haseltine, a noted Harvard professor and AIDS researcher. HGS had a partnership for several years after its founding with Craig Venter and his non-profit TIGR to begin sequencing and submitting patents on hundreds of thousands of protein-encoding DNA fragments. In 2000, Haseltine said that his work "speeds up biological discovery a hundredfold, easily." He talked of finding in genes "the fountain of youth" in the form of "cellular replacement" therapies. More than $2 billion in investments was raised by the company by 1999-2000. Two initial drugs failed in clinical trials, and the stock share price declined from its highs. For example, in September 2000, the company reported that it had found a way to treat large, painful sores that often plague elderly patients, using a protein spray called repifermin, made by a human gene called keratinocyte growth factor-2. In February 2004, the company said that it was ending the development of repifermin because it showed no more benefit than a placebo in clinical trials.
In late 2004, HGS announced Haseltine's retirement and named H. Thomas Watkins the new President and CEO.
Benlysta (belimumab) received U.S. Food and Regulatory Administration approval for use in lupus in March 2011. Belimumab is being developed with GlaxoSmithKline, Abthrax (raxibacumab) for anthrax disease is the subject of a contract with the US Government under Project BioShield. Development of Albuferon (albinterferon) for Hepatitis C has been discontinued after fatalities during early testing. Belimumab and raxibacumab were created as a result of a technology licensing deal signed with Cambridge Antibody Technology signed in 1999.
Its facilities in Rockville, Maryland earned its architect—Davis Carter Scott, Ltd.—an award from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. The Association cited the glass walls, atrium, and uniform design of all the buildings as reasons for the award.
On April 19, 2012, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made a takeover bid for HGS, offering $13.00 per share. The HGS board "...in consultation with independent financial and legal advisors, has carefully reviewed and considered the GSK offer and has determined that the offer does not reflect the value inherent in HGS." Glaxo then tried to buy HGS shares on the open market, but the HGS board of directors adopted a "poison pill" shareholder rights plan that led Glaxo to back off. Shareholders, however, sued the HGS board for adopting the plan. On July 16, 2012, HGS agreed to be purchased by GSK for $3.6 billion.
Collaboration with Cambridge Antibody Technology
In 1999, HGS signed a deal with the UK biopharmaceutical company Cambridge Antibody Technology to discover and develop antibody therapeutics. This deal generated belimumab, raxibacumab, mapatumumab and lexatumumab. In April 2012, the first three of these products form part of the six named by HGS in its public pipeline.
As of April 2012, HGS's pipeline consists of six products:
- The Disappointment Gene: Why genetics is so far a boondoggle, Slate Magazine, October 18, 2005
- Protein Spray Could Heal Sores, Wired News, September 13, 2000
- Human Genome's drug falls short, shares take a dip , September 26, 2003
- HGSI drops experimental drug, Washington Business Journal, February 2, 2004
- , HGS Press Release, January 7, 2008
- , HGS Press Release about GSK deal
- , HGS Press Release about Novartis
- , HGS Press release about Government Contract
- HUMAN GENOME SCIENCES ANNOUNCES 2008 GOALS AND REPORTS SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS TOWARD COMMERCIALIZATION AT JPMORGAN HEALTHCARE CONFERENCE
- Overly, Steven. "GlaxoSmithKline buys Human Genome Sciences for $3.6B." Washington Post. July 16, 2012. Accessed 2012-07-16.
- HGS Press Release, 2005
- HGS Press Release, June 20, 2006