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GSK and Chroma announce collaboration

GSK and Chroma Therapeutics will collaborate to develop macrophage-targeted compounds

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Chroma Therapeutics will collaborate to develop macrophage-targeted compounds.

A macrophage is a type of white blood cell that absorbs foreign material, and can therefore help destroy bacteria, protoza and tumour cells.

The collaboration agreement between Chroma and GSK's Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD) will use Chroma's proprietary esterase-sensitive motif (ESM) technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chroma will undertake four discovery and development programmes to identify small molecule therapeutics, including its macrophage-targeted HDAC inhibitor programme for inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Chroma could receive $1bn from the deal through a combination of milestone payments, option fees and tiered royalties if all four programmes are successful. The Oxford-based company will receive an up-front cash payment from GSK which will also invest in Chroma's Series D equity financing.

"This collaboration provides strong validation of our technology platform and will enable Chroma to progress a broad pipeline of novel agents against a range of serious diseases," said Ian Nicholson, CEO of Chroma Therapeutics. 

Chroma will complete clinical proof of concept studies as part of its R&D responsibilities for each programme. GSK will have the right to choose to obtain an exclusive, worldwide license to produce candidates from within any programme at any time. At this stage, the global pharmaceutical giant will assume full responsibility for development and commercialisation. For any programme GSK chooses not to license, Chroma will retain the rights to further develop and commercialise product candidates.

"This agreement marks GSK's continued efforts to access the best science and technology platforms worldwide" said Shelagh Wilson, vice president and head of the European CEEDD. "We believe Chroma's ESM platform has tremendous potential, and look forward to working with Chroma to accelerate the discovery and development of innovative new medicines for patients".

24th June 2009


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