U.S. markets were fairly level in premarket trading Monday, as oil prices fell about 1.5% to $40.99 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
London-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced before the opening bell that it has formed a joint venture with Alphabet's (GOOGL) Verily Life Sciences in order to develop and commercialize "biolectronics medicines."
The new enterprise, Galvani Bioelectronics, will be based in the U.K. and hopes to pioneer the use of miniature electronics to manage electrical transmissions in the nervous system, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement.
"The new company will bring together GlaxoSmithKline's world class drug discovery and development expertise and deep understanding of disease biology with Verily's world leading technical expertise in the miniaturisation of low power electronics, device development, data analytics and software development for clinical applications," the company added, noting that initial research will focus on endocrine disorders such as type-2 diabetes, as well as a variety of inflammatory and metabolic illnesses.
GlaxoSmithKline and Alphabet will each be contributing intellectual property rights to the venture and roughly $715 million over the next seven years if certain criteria are met. GlaxoSmithKline is set to hold 55% of the equity interest in Galvani while Alphabet's Verily, which was formerly known as Google Life Sciences, will hold the remaining 45%. (Alphabet stock is a holding of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust.)
Meanwhile, shares of San Mateo, Calif-based energy giant SolarCity (SCTY) were up about 6% in premarket trading following a Reuters report that SolarCity could be announcing it has agreed to accept a Tesla (TSLA) $2.6 billion takeover offer as early as Monday. The terms of the new deal were not disclosed, but Reuters noted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously offered an exchange of 0.122 Tesla shares per 0.131 shares of SolarCity.
As Real Money reported, the deal was met with shareholder resistance last month as the proposed tie-up, which would encourage the use of Tesla-manufactured energy-storage units, may not be compatible with SolarCity's ability to save money through its policy of "net metering," an incentive system that allows SolarCity customers to pare down electricity bills by selling excess solar energy to public power grids.
Shares of Barclays (BCS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) were each down about 2% before the opening bell, following Friday's release of results from the European Banking Authority's annual stress tests of the European banking sector, which showed comparatively weak performance for both U.K. companies.