Planting CEEDD for success

Chris Anderson
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PHILADELPHIA—June 13, 2007—GSK and Pharmacopeia announced that the latter will receive its second $5 million payment resulting from a product development and commercialization deal established in March 2006. "The alliance between the CEEDD and Pharmacopeia is off to a tremendous start, and the CEEDD is very pleased with the progress to date on the several programs underway," says Hugh Cowley, GSK SVP and head of GSK's Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD).
PRINCETON, N.J.—Small-molecule discovery and development company Pharmacopeia announced last month a collaboration with the recently established Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD) of GlaxoSmithKline whereby Pharmacopeia will deliver clinically validated therapeutic candidates to GSK's research and development efforts.
Under the terms of the collaboration, GSK will make an upfront cash payment of $15 million to Pharmacopeia. In addition, each drug development program pursued under the alliance could provide up to $83 million in success-based milestones, with Pharmacopeia receiving royalties in the mid-teens for any product brought to market.
The agreement makes Pharmacopeia the first new collaborator for the CEEDD, which was created one year ago by GSK as a means to increase its portfolio of therapeutic candidates by making its R&D and development expertise available to outside companies.
"The Pharmacopeia relationship exemplifies a new collaborative model for GSK," says Maxine Gowen, senior VP of GSK and head of the CEEDD. "Through the CEEDD we will ally GSK's understanding of medical needs with biotech innovation to bring new medicines to patients. At the same time as GSK provides its broad experience, Pharmacopeia brings its unique perspective that adds to our internal capabilities."
Working together, GSK and Pharmacopeia have already determined therapeutic areas of interest. Pharmacopeia will be responsible for the discovery of active molecules in these therapeutic areas and bringing them through to clinical proof of concept, or the end of Phase II trials. At this point GSK will have exclusive options to conduct Phase III clinical trials and to commercialize any resulting pharmaceutical products.
According to Pharmacopeia CEO Les Browne, the collaboration comes at a critical time for Pharmacopeia. "This alliance is very attractive to us because we have already proven ourselves successful in the drug discovery arena," Browne says. "We want to build on our discovery capabilities to be clinical development stage as quickly as we can."
Working with leads through preclinical and clinical work is not an area where Pharamcopeia has a wealth of experience. But by working in conjunction with CEEDD through these stages it will be able to tap GSK's experience in these areas while it also begins to build its own internal pre-clinical and clinical expertise.
Currently, the company has three partnered compounds in clinical trials and another seven partnered compounds in pre-clinical development. While the partners have been necessary for the company, the intent is to create internal capabilities at Pharmacopeia that will allow it to advance compounds into trials.
"Right now, we are in the process of building a small regulatory capability of our own," Browne says. "While we are relying on GSK's expertise to help us advance compounds farther down the pipeline than we have in the past, we will also benefit from a clinical and regulatory perspective in the future as we look to build that capability for our internal program."
Plans are already underway, he notes, to bring in five to seven people to develop the company's regulatory expertise, as well as develop and manage CRO relationships during the clinical development phase. 

Chris Anderson

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