labels: Pharmaceuticals
GSK signs drug pact with Chroma Therapeutics news
24 June 2009

The world's third-largest pharmaceutical company Glaxosmithkline, has signed an exploratory agreement with biotechnology company Chroma Therapeutics to develop a series of compounds for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The deal is aimed to develop macrophage-targeted compounds using Chroma's proprietary esterase-sensitive motif (ESM) technology, to treat inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The Oxford, UK-based privately held Chroma will undertake four discovery and development programmes to identify small molecule therapeutics, including its macrophage-targeted HDAC inhibitor programme.

Under the deal GSK will pay Chroma so-called milestones as the technology clears certain regulatory hurdles, and will get the licence to market the drugs, with Chroma receiving a royalty on any sales.

Overall, Chroma has the potential to receive in excess of $1 billion in total milestone and option payments in the event that all four programmes are successful.

Chroma's ESM technology attaches specific chemical motifs onto active drugs to enhance the delivery of the drugs to specific targets within cells. Over time, the drug-motif will accumulate within the cells, resulting in increased potency and duration of action.

This technology may find useful in the treatment of inflammatory disorders and a variety of serious diseases including inflammatory disorders, cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes and other conditions.

"This collaboration provides strong validation of our technology platform and will enable Chroma to progress a broad pipeline of novel agents against a range of serious diseases," said Ian Nicholson, CEO of Chroma.

"This agreement marks GSK's continued efforts to access the best science and technology platforms worldwide" said Shelagh Wilson, vice president, GSK, adding that "we believe Chroma's ESM platform has tremendous potential, and look forward to working with Chroma to accelerate the discovery and development of innovative new medicines for patients."

GSK, which also participated in Chroma's £15 million equity raising yesterday, has signed several early stage deals in recent months.

Under the terms of the collaboration with GSK's Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD), Chroma will undertake four discovery and development programmes to identify small molecule therapeutics, including its macrophage-targeted HDAC inhibitor programme for inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Chroma is backed by a number of leading specialist investors, including Abingworth, Essex Woodlands, Gilde, Nomura Phase4 and The Wellcome Trust and is also considering a public listing in the near future.

Chroma Therapeutics founded in 2002, is a drug discovery and development company focused in the fields of oncology and inflammatory disorders and its main product is a late stage leukemia treatment and the company is backed by a number of leading venture capital funds, including Abingworth, Essex Woodlands,

GlaxoSmithKline has also advanced its activity in the Asian market this month by signing deals with pharmaceutical companies in China and India to expand its drug marketing portfolio.

On 8 June, the company entered into a deal to form a new joint venture with China's Shenzhen Neptunus Interlong Bio-Technique Co. Ltd for developing and manufacturing influenza vaccines for the Chinese market. (See: GSK in new venture pact with Shenzhen Neptunus to make influenza vaccines in China)

On 14 June, it signed a profit-sharing deal with Dr Reddy's Laboratories to develop and market generics and differentiated formulations, where the products will be manufactured by Dr Reddy's and will be licensed and supplied to GSK to sell in various emerging markets such as Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific excluding India. (See: Glaxo ties up with Dr Reddy's for emerging markets)

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GSK signs drug pact with Chroma Therapeutics