Cellzome Announces Second Major Strategic Drug Discovery Alliance with GlaxoSmithKline in Inflammatory Disease
CAMBRIDGE, England and HEIDELBERG, Germany, March 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/-- Cellzome today announced that it has formed a second strategic alliancewith GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This new collaboration gives GSK exclusive accessto Cellzome's proprietary Episphere(TM) technology in the emerging field ofepigenetics as applied to immunoinflammatory disease. Epigenetic mechanismsplay a key role in controlling immune cell differentiation and inflammatorygene expression during an excessive inflammatory response.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together usingCellzome's Episphere(TM) technology platform, to identify selectivesmall-molecule drug candidates against targets from four different epigenetictarget classes. The companies will share operational responsibility for theprograms until identification of drug candidates, at which stage GSK willassume responsibility for any further preclinical and clinical developmentand commercialisation.
Under the financial terms, Cellzome will receive an upfront payment ofEUR33 million, comprising technology access fees and the purchase of equity.In addition, Cellzome is eligible for milestone payments and tiered royaltiesfor each programme. Milestone payments under this collaboration could reachover EUR475 million if all programmes under the alliance are successfullydeveloped and commercialised.
Tim Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Cellzome, said: "We are delightedto form another major alliance with GSK, using our leading technology andpeople to find transformative medicines in this exciting field of biology.Combining forces with GSK will accelerate the development of newanti-inflammatory drugs for the benefit of patients."
Cellzome is a privately-owned drug discovery and development company, anda leader in the use of chemical proteomics technologies to identify a newgeneration of drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
Our pipeline of small-molecule therapeutics is driven by Kinobeads(TM), aproprietary technology for screening and profiling kinases in theirphysiological context. We have developed a new technology, calledEpisphere(TM) to address epigenetic targets in disease-specific proteincomplexes. Our goal is to identify oral therapeutics for inflammatorydiseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatorybowel disease.
In addition to the alliance with GSK in the field of epigenetics,Cellzome has another strategic alliance with GSK to discover, develop andmarket kinase-targeted therapeutics to treat inflammatory disease and analliance with Johnson & Johnson focused on the discovery of novel medicinesfor the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Cellzome's holding company is domiciled in the US and it employs about 90people at its two R&D laboratories in Cambridge, UK and Heidelberg, Germany.To learn more about Cellzome, please visit the website:http://www.cellzome.com.
About Episphere(TM) and epigenetics
Episphere(TM) is a chemical proteomics technology for the discovery ofnovel drugs directed against targets involved in epigenetic regulation. Thetechnology allows the screening and profiling of inhibitors of epigenetictargets in their native environment, directly in the lysate of cells andtissues and can also differentiate between the complexes these targetsoperate in. The term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in geneexpression and phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in DNAsequence. One major mechanism is the specific enzymatic modification ofhistone tails, which affects the packaging of DNA into chromatin and throughthat controls the transcription of specific genes. Enzymes, such as histonedeacetylases (HDAC) or methyltransferases (HMT) can change the modificationof the histone tails and therefore change the 'histone code'. Dysregulationof these modifications is thought to play a central role in cancer and inchronic degenerative diseases like neurological and autoimmune disease. Theenzymes which carry out these histone modifications are part of largemultifunctional protein complexes, which represent attractive novel targetsfor drug discovery.
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