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GSK and Anacor in systemic anti-infective tie-up

Anacor and GlaxoSmithKline enter into a worldwide strategic alliance for the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel medicines for viral and bacterial diseases

US-based Anacor Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have entered into a worldwide strategic alliance for the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel medicines for viral and bacterial diseases.

As a result, GSK now has access to Anacor's proprietary boron-based chemistry for use against selected targets. GSK will participate in the alliance through its Infectious Diseases Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery (ID CEDD).

Per the agreement, Anacor will grant GSK options to select product candidates developed under the collaboration that are directed to up to four discovery targets and with the potential for at least eight product options.

Anacor will also be responsible for the discovery and development of boron-containing small molecule drug candidates through clinical proof of concept, at which point GSK will have an exclusive option to license each compound for further development and commercialisation on a worldwide basis.

Anacor will have the right to further develop and commercialise compounds, for which GSK does not exercise its option. Anacor will receive a USD 12m upfront payment and a USD 10m equity financing commitment from GSK.

Anacor will be eligible to receive discovery, development, regulatory and commercial milestones ranging up to USD 252m and USD 331m for each product candidate, if certain milestones are achieved. Should GSK exercise its option at the proof of concept stage, Anacor will receive tiered double digit royalties, which are dependent on sales achieved.

Molecules containing boron may access a different chemical space than traditional anti-infectives. The altered structure could offer more opportunities for biological novelty, while Anacorís proprietary technological advances in the synthesis of boron-based compounds, could see the creation of diverse families of boron-based compounds.

The global anti-infective market has suffered from a major shift in sales from brand products to generics, causing revenues to plummet. However, new products should generate significant sales and fuel recovery and growth. Report Buyer forecasts, however, a steady recovery and growth in the global antibacterial market to more than USD 25bn by 2011.

The cephalosporin antibiotic market in particular has been affected by declining sales caused by patent expirations of branded products. For example, Swiss-based Rocheís Rocephin (ceftriaxone) was the leading cephalosporin on the market, with more than USD 1bn in annual sales, until it suffered increased generic price erosion.

There has been a call to increase the incentives that will reinvigorate industry research and development of new antibiotics and antivirals, in addition to investing in programmes which help limit the impact of resistance. Pharmaceutical companies are taking a second look at new compounds and the GSK/ Anacor collaboration is a prime example.

Zhi Hong, senior vice-president and head of GSKís ID CEDD, said of the collaboration focus: "Anacor's boron-based chemistry has shown promise in inhibiting targets that are difficult to address with traditional carbon-based molecules and we look forward to further exploring its potential to provide new antiviral and antibiotic options."

30th September 2008

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