The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that the Bellini family's two-decade quest to repeat the success of BioChem Pharma has finally paid off as British drug giant GSK PLC said Tuesday it would buy cough-treatment developer Bellus Health for $2-billion (U.S.). The Globe's Sean Silcoff quotes Bellus chief executive officer Roberto Bellini, the son of chairman Francesco Bellini, saying: "We don't give up. We're used to the ups and downs of the biotechnology space." The deal is the latest in a series of $1-billion-plus takeovers of Canadian life sciences companies, including Clementia, Trillium and part of Baylis. Bellus is conducting key late-stage human trials to prove its drug, camlipixant, can reduce chronic coughing, a condition that affects 28 million people in the United States, Japan, China and key European markets. There is no approved cure; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved a new medication for coughing since dextromethorphan -- a staple in cold medications -- in 1958. Some doctors resort to morphine for treatment. Francesco Bellini built BioChem into one of Canada's most successful biotechnology enterprises, selling it to Shire Pharmaceuticals for $5.9-billion in 2001.
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