Human Genome Sciences (HGS) starts at the molecular level for good health. Using its expertise in human genetics, the biopharmaceutical discovery and development firm is working on therapies for infectious and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Lead candidate Benlysta has gained FDA approval to treat systemic lupus and has since been extended into international markets. Benlysta was developed through a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (which acquired HGS in 2012). In addition, the company has provided contract research and manufacturing services to other biotechs.
HGS is a part of the Immuno-inflammation unit of the Pharmaceuticals segment of parent GlaxoSmithKline.
Immuno-inflammation contributes 1% of the revenues of the Pharmaceuticals segment (which accounts for 68% of the parent company's total revenues). In 2013 revenues from Benlysta was £146 million, with £134 million coming from the US.
Partner GSK had decided it wanted full rights to Benlysta and other candidates and made an unsuccessful, unsolicited offer to buy HGS for some $2.6 billion, or $13 a share, in cash. After GSK enriched its offer to $14.25 per share, or $3 billion, HGS agreed to the deal, and the acquisition was finalized in 2012.
HGS has high hopes that Benlysta will skyrocket it into the big leagues among biopharma companies. Benlysta is expected to become a blockbuster seller (reaching over $1 billion in sales), as it is the first new lupus drug approved by the FDA in more than 50 years. To support the drug's launch, HGS built up a sales organization to market Benlysta in the US and Europe, where it co-markets the drug with GSK. In other global markets, GSK has full commercial responsibilities. Aimed first at treating lupus, the drug may eventually be used to treat a variety of immune disorders and to help kidney transplant patients.
The company earned its first revenues from sales of a product in 2009 when it delivered 20,000 doses of anthrax treatment raxibacumab to the US government for its bioterrorism stockpile. The company reported $154 millin in revenues that year related to raxibacumab. Also in 2009, the government ordered another 45,000 doses to be delivered over a three-year period; the company earned $47 million product revenues in 2010 and another $52 million in 2011 related to the order.
HGS was founded in 1992.