GSK inks potential half-billion-dollar deals with Nabi, Astex
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced Nov. 16 that it has entered into partnerships with two biotechnology companies that could be worth up to $500 million each.
LONDON—GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced Nov. 16 that it hasentered into partnerships with two biotechnology companies that could be worthup to $500 million each.
In one deal, GSK will work with Nabi Biopharmaceuticals ofRockville, Md., to develop smoking vaccines geared to the approximately 1.2billion smokers across the globe. Nabi is developing a vaccine called NicVAX,which is intended to train the immune system to make antibodies that willattach themselves to nicotine. With the antibodies stuck to them, the nicotinemolecules will not be able to reach the brain. The companies say that willblock the pleasurable effects of nicotine.
Nabi is running one late-stage clinical study of NicVAX andplans to start another one. If testing is successful, GlaxoSmithKline will beresponsible for getting the vaccine approved by regulators, and will market thedrug if it is approved. Nabi will get $40 million upfront and complete testingof NicVAX. GSK will also start developing a second-generation version of thevaccine.
Nabi could receive milestone payments for successfultesting, regulatory approval and sales targets, as well as royalties of morethan 10 percent on sales. The companies said those payments could reach morethan $500 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.
In the second deal, GSK and compatriot Astex TherapeuticsLtd. will partner on the development and commercialization of compounds"directed against multiple therapeutic targets of interest to GSK." As part ofthe agreement, Astex will apply its fragment chemistry platform, Pyramid, tomultiple targets identified by GSK, with the objective of identifying anddeveloping new candidate drugs.
Astex and GSK will form joint program teams to identifycandidate compounds. Astex will be primarily responsible for the initialfragment screening and lead discovery, and GSK will primarily be responsiblefor optimization of the identified lead compounds. GSK will be solelyresponsible for completing preclinical and clinical development of all productsarising from the collaboration, and for their commercialization globally.
The agreement will provide an upfront payment and equityinvestment in Astex of $33 million. Astex is eligible to receive developmentand regulatory milestones and tiered royalties for each program. Total paymentsunder the agreement, excluding royalties, could reach more than $500 million,including non-clinical milestones totaling more than $61 million, if allprograms under the alliance are successfully developed and commercialized.