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Targacept and GSK end partnership

Targacept is to end a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to create drugs in the therapeutic areas including pain, smoking cessation and obesity

Targacept has announced the upcoming termination of a research, development and marketing partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that had been aimed at selectively targeting neuronal nicotinic receptors (NNR) to create drugs in the therapeutic focus areas of pain, smoking cessation, addiction, obesity and Parkinson's disease.

"In February 2010, GSK announced significant strategic changes in the neurosciences area, which ultimately led to the decision to end the alliance," according to Targacept. The partnership, which is now set to end in May, was formed in July 2007.

Full rights to compounds discovered or advanced as part of the alliance will belong to Targacept after the termination.

"Our alliance with GlaxoSmithKline provided us with substantial funding at a key time in Targacept's evolution, helping us stay at the forefront of NNR research and grow our pipeline of novel product candidates with diverse NNR pharmacologies," said Targacept president and CEO J Donald deBethizy.

"While we are disappointed that we will be no longer working with our colleagues at GlaxoSmithKline, we are energised to have increased flexibility to apply our resources where emerging science dictates. Our programmes in Parkinson's disease and related disorders and in smoking cessation remain of great interest to us."

So far, Targacept has received $45m under the deal, including a $15m equity investment. Had the partnership continued as outlined in the original agreement, Targacept could have received up to $1.5bn if milestones were met in the five research areas and would have been entitled to double-digit royalties on drugs approved for sale.

Targacept also has other partnerships, including a key alliance with AstraZeneca (AZ) under which it is developing its lead product, a phase III drug known as TC-5214, as an adjunct treatment for major depressive disorder.

4th March 2011

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