GlaxoSmithKline, which acquired vaccine-maker ID Biomedical for $1.4 billion last week, may sell off or relocate the smaller company's 100-employee...

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GlaxoSmithKline, which acquired vaccine-maker ID Biomedical for $1.4 billion last week, may sell off or relocate the smaller company’s 100-employee Bothell research unit.

“We’re exploring the possibility of the biodefense activities being taken over by a third party and the nonbiodefense activities would be transferred to other [Glaxo] locations in North America,” Patricia Seif, spokeswoman for the global pharmaceutical company, said Friday. No decision is expected for about six months, she added.

ID Biomedical was based in Vancouver, B.C., and had a major vaccine production plant in Quebec City. Glaxo said the acquisition strengthened its position in the influenza-vaccine market.

Todd Patrick, ID Biomedical’s former president, said employees in Bothell are heartened that Glaxo will either keep operating the biodefense unit or attempt to sell it.

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“The easiest thing to do for Glaxo would have been to come in and shut down the facility since it doesn’t fall within their strategic interests,” Patrick said, adding that Glaxo has talked with “a number of interested parties.”

ID Biomedical’s core vaccine business grew out of the Bothell site, which was built in 1998 and includes a pilot manufacturing facility, Patrick said.

The lab has attracted top U.S. scientific talent, said David Miller of Seattle-based investor publication Biotech Monthly.

“Some of their brightest scientists are there,” Miller said. “They have good shops other places, but the guys that attracted us to cover the company in the first place were located here.”

Researchers are pursuing next-generation vaccines for biodefense, including a nasally delivered plague vaccine, for which the company received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health last year.

Benjamin J. Romano: bromano@seattletimes.com