Cellzome in €500m GlaxoSmithKline deal

Cellzome announces second major strategic drug discovery alliance with GlaxoSmithKline in inflammatory disease.

Cellzome has announced that it has formed a second strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This new collaboration gives GSK exclusive access to Cellzome’s proprietary Episphere™ technology in the emerging field of epigenetics as applied to immunoinflammatory disease.

Epigenetic mechanisms play a key part in controlling immune cell differentiation and inflammatory gene expression during an excessive inflammatory response.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK and Cellzome will work together using Cellzome’s Episphere technology platform to identify selective small-molecule drug candidates against targets from four different epigenetic target classes. GSK and Cellzome will share operational responsibility for the programs until identification of drug candidates, at which stage GSK will assume responsibility for any further preclinical and clinical development and commercialization.

Under the financial terms of the agreement, Cellzome will receive an upfront payment of €33 million, comprising technology access fees and the purchase of equity. In addition, Cellzome is eligible for milestone payments and tiered royalties for each programme.

Milestone payments under this collaboration could reach more than €475 million if all programmes under the alliance are developed and commercialized successfully.

Tim Edwards, CEO of Cellzome, said: ‘We are delighted to form another major alliance with GSK, using our leading technology and people to find transformative medicines in this exciting field of biology. Combining forces with GSK will accelerate the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs for the benefit of patients.’

Episphere is a chemical proteomics technology for the discovery of novel drugs directed against targets involved in epigenetic regulation. The technology enables the screening and profiling of inhibitors of epigenetic targets in their native environment, directly in the lysate of cells and tissues, and can differentiate between the complexes these targets operate in.

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