UK - Avon Pension Fund has been accepted as the lead plaintiff in a US securities class action suit against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

A spokeswoman for the local authority pension fund, managed by Bath and North East Somerset County Council, confirmed it has been appointed by a United States judge as the lead plaintiff in a case against GSK, with the help of its New York-based lawyers, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman and Robbins.

Papers were filed in the US courts in September by both Avon and officials at North Yorkshire County Council pension fund claiming compensation from GSK for allegedly misleading the stock market about the safety of one of its drugs - a move which the pension funds believe had a significant impact of the share price of GSK and subsequent returns on their investments.

It is understood two other parties had been seeking lead plaintiff status, aside from the UK local authorities, in the class suit.

It is now anticipated it could take over 12 months before the plaintiff's case is considered and Glaxo is likely to rebuff any such claims within that time frame, said the spokeswoman.

Representatives of GlaxoSmithKline were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.