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Astex announces strategic drug discovery alliance with GlaxoSmithKline

Astex Therapeutics Limited announced recently that it has entered into a new collaboration agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to discover, develop and commercialize novel compounds directed against multiple therapeutic targets of interest to GSK.

In the new collaboration, Astex will apply its fragment chemistry platform, Pyramid™, to multiple targets identified by GSK, with the objective of identifying and developing new candidate drugs. The targets have been selected from multiple therapeutic areas within GSK.

Under the terms of the agreement, Astex and GSK will form joint programme teams to identify candidate compounds. Astex will be primarily responsible for the initial fragment screening and lead discovery, and GSK will primarily be responsible for optimization of the identified lead compounds. GSK will be solely responsible for completing preclinical and clinical development of all products arising from the collaboration and for their commercialization globally.

The agreement provides an upfront payment to and equity investment in Astex of £20 million ($33 million), comprising £12.5 million in cash and £7.5 million in equity. Astex is eligible to receive development and regulatory milestones and tiered royalties for each programme. Total payments under the collaboration, excluding royalties, could reach more than £300 million ($500 million), including non-clinical milestones totalling more than £37 million ($61 million), if all programmes under the alliance are successfully developed and commercialized.

Harren Jhoti, Chief Executive Officer of Astex Therapeutics, said, ‘This is a major agreement for Astex, and we are delighted to be working with GSK on this discovery alliance. This partnership is another testament to Astex’s position as the leader in fragment-based drug discovery, an approach that has established itself as one of the most significant advances in discovery chemistry in the past two decades.’

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