GlaxoSmithKline today announced a new strategic alliance with novel drug developer using RNA, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc, to apply Isis's antisense drug discovery platform to seek out and develop new therapeutics against targets for rare and serious disease, including infectious diseases, and some conditions causing blindness.
Under the terms of the agreement, which covers up to six programmes, Isis will receive an upfront $35 million payment from GSK and is eligible to receive on average up to $20 million in milestones per programme up to Phase 2 proof of concept (PoC).
Isis will be eligible to receive license fees and milestone payments, totaling nearly $1.5 billion, in the event all six programmes are successfully developed for one or more indications and commercialised through to pre-agreed sales targets. In addition Isis will receive up to double-digit royalties on sales, from any product that is successfully commercialised.
GSK will have the option to license compounds at PoC, and will be responsible for all further development and commercialisation.
''As a platform, the Isis antisense approach offers us an exciting opportunity to target certain severe diseases in a way that has not previously been possible,'' said Dr. Patrick Vallance, senior vice-president and head of drug discovery at GSK. ''Isis Pharmaceuticals is a leader in antisense technology, and this new alliance will enhance our discovery platform in this promising research area.''
RNA-targeted therapeutics, or antisense therapies such as oligonucleotides, represent an opportunity for a new drug class. Where most other medicines are small molecules or biologics that target a specific protein in a disease process, antisense therapies prevent protein synthesis by eliminating the mRNA - the template or pattern that guides the production of the protein.