Inserm Transfert, GSK ink license agreement

No financial terms were disclosed, but the organizations will work to develop therapeutic antibodies against an immune checkpoint molecule

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PARIS—Inserm Transfert has announced the establishment of an exclusive worldwide license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the development of therapeutic antibodies that target an immune checkpoint molecule as a potential future cancer treatment.
Per the terms of the agreement, GSK has been granted exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the monoclonal antibodies, for which it will pay Inserm Transfert an undisclosed up front fee as well as milestone payments based on development of the product or products. In addition, Inserm Transfert also stands to receive royalties on sales of any product resulting from this agreement.
“Our long-term strategic alliance with GSK is making progress and illustrates a shared vision by GSK and Inserm Transfert that successful development of new drugs requires pro-active action and alignment from both sides,” Augustin Godard, executive vice president and head of Business Unit Open Innovation at Inserm Transfert, said in a press release. “This is even more important in early drug discovery in order to identify tomorrow’s successful products, and one of the key success factors is the Alliance Management.”
The focus of this agreement is research developed by Prof. Daniel Olive and his team at CRCM-Institut Paoli-Calmettes based on the functions of immune-checkpoint molecules such as Inducible T-Cell Co-Stimulator, which, along with other co-stimulatory proteins, plays a key role in immune responses. This development work will explore the protein’s potential as a target for therapies in cancer and other indications.
“We are very excited about this agreement with GSK; this is a real opportunity to bring potentially innovative products faster to the patient. This research outcome is resulting from close collaboration with several teams located in Léon Bérard Cancer Center (Lyon), in La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (Paris) and in IPC (Marseille),” Olive commented in a statement.
This agreement comes a little less than a week after GSK announced another cancer-based development. On December 5, GSK announced the establishment of the Oncology Clinical and Translational Consortium. This collaborative scientific research network unites several internationally renowned comprehensive cancer centers, including Gustave Roussy, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology - VHIO.  
The consortium will foster collaboration among the organizations, with projects to focus on Phase I/II clinical trials in cancer, for both single agent and novel combination therapies, as well as translational and preclinical research. The other partners will gain access to studies involving GSK’s early-stage oncology pipeline, while GSK will benefit from the consortium members’ experience in preclinical, translational and clinical development of anticancer thearpeutics such as kinase inhibitors, epigenome-modulating compounds and immunotherapies.
“Each OCTC member institution is recognized internationally as a leader in clinical and translational research,” Rafael Amado, head of Oncology R&D at GlaxoSmithKline, said in a press release announcing the initiative. “The consortium together with GSK will design and execute research programs in a focused and expeditious way, allowing us to potentially develop new diagnostic tools and medicines to better treat cancer patients.”

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