GlaxoSmithKline supplies an estimated seven per cent of the world's pharmaceutical market and has six major disease areas – asthma, virus control, infections, mental health, diabetes and digestive conditions.
GlaxoSmithKline taps into Isis Pharmaceuticals antisense drug delivery platform
A growing trend in the past decade for even the largest pharmaceutical companies is to regularly partner with other companies in an effort to maximise exposure to a varied range of potential new drug candidates while also sharing out the high costs of developing new therapies.
London and New York pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK, LSE:GSK) (“Glaxo”) has been one of the leader in this area, continually seeking new partnerships while also regularly restricting its own operations in an attempt to maximise its drug development pipeline while keeping research and development costs in check.
This morning Glaxo announced a new strategic alliance with US listed Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIS)(“Isis”) to jointly develop new therapies using Isis’ antisense drug delivery platform. The alliance will focus on potential candidates for rare and serious disease, including conditions that cause blindness and infectious diseases.
Antisense therapies target proteins involved in disease processes through the RNA that is involved in building these proteins. Isis’ platform develops therapies that bind to messenger RNA (mRNA) and inhibit the production of disease-causing protein.
Under the terms of the agreement announced this morning Glaxo will pay Isis an upfront fee of US$35 million and up to US$20 million in milestones up to Phase 2 proof of concept (PoC) per program. The agreement covers up to six programs. At the PoC stage, Glaxo will have an option to license the compound and will fund all additional development and commercialization costs. Isis will also receive license and milestone payments on any compound that reaches commercialization.
The total potential value of the milestone and license fees, based on Glaxo successfully developing one or more compounds from each program, is nearly US$1.5 billion. Isis will additionally receive up to double-digit royalties on sales from any product that is successfully commercialized.
“This alliance provides GSK with access to Isis' expertise in drug discovery and development of RNA-targeted therapeutics, with Isis retaining responsibility for the discovery and development of compounds to the alliance targets from inception to PoC,” Glaxo stated.
Isis Pharmaceuticals has already successfully commercialized the world's first antisense drug, and has 22 drugs in development.