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GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to acquire Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology firm, for $720 million. Sirtris' drug discovery platform exploits the modulation of sirtuins, a newly discovered class of enzymes that are believed to be involved in the aging process. The company's primary focus has been on the development of SIRT1 activators, derived from the grape extract resveratrol, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. "This acquisition continues GSK's strategy of pursuing the best new science, externally or internally, to bring new medicines to patients and value to the GSK pipeline," says Moncef Slaoui, chairman of GSK R&D. According to Slaoui, the biotech firm will become part of GSK's drug discovery organization while continuing to operate at its Cambridge facility.
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