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GSK forms alliance with Epizyme

GlaxoSmithKline and Epizyme have signed a deal to develop a class of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of diseases including cancer

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Epizyme have announced a strategic alliance to develop a class of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of diseases including cancer.

The deal, which covers global markets, will see the companies use Epizyme's unique discovery platform for histone methyltransferases (HMTs) – a class of epigenetic enzyme.

These enzymes are a class of protein that regulate an individual's genes. The HMT family of enzymes has up to 96 members, with some demonstrating links to cancer and other diseases.

Epizyme's HMT platform will be used to discover and develop small molecule HMT therapeutics against a set of targets to be included in the collaboration. The therapeutics would work by controlling the pathways of gene expression that contribute to diseases.

In return for sharing the HMT platform with GSK, Epizyme will receive an upfront payment of $20m, with research funding  available too.

The US-based biotech will also be eligible to receive over $630m in milestone payments dependent on the commercial approval and success of developed products.

Dr Robert Gould, CEO and president of Epizyme, said: "Epizyme's mission is to develop personalised therapeutics for genetically-defined patients based on our understanding of the driving role played by many HMTs in human disease. We are excited to be working with GSK. This collaboration validates our unique discovery platform and the targeted approach we bring to HMT therapeutics."

10th January 2011

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