British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline is poised to announce a $2.8 billion takeover of Human Genome Sciences, perhaps as early as today, reports Reuters. US-based Human Genome, which uses the human DNA sequence to develop drugs, balked at Glaxo's original $2.6 billion offer and said it would go shopping for a better one, setting a July 16 deadline. But because GSK was already partnered with Human Genome and has marketing rights to its drugs, there was little interest from other pharmaceutical companies.
After three months of wrangling, GSK raised its offering price by a dollar to $14 per share. With a wave of top-selling drugs losing their patents, many big pharmaceutical companies have been buying biotech firms, hoping to latch onto the next big pill. Human Genome was a pioneer of gene-based drug research, but its most recent offering, the first new lupus drug in more than 50 years, disappointed in its release last year, causing its share price to plunge from a high of $25 to a low of $6.51 in December.