$300m deal to fight a rare disease
London/Montreal - Angiochem will collaborate with British pharma trust GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc on treatments for lysosomal storage diseases (LSD). London-based GSK will pay $300m, including up to $31.5m in upfront cash and research funding. The cooperation comes as a small surprise, as it was only earlier this month when GSK announced, after a major re-adjustment of R&D budgets and structures, that it wanted to stick to its in-house R&D. Angiochem's field of expertise is the creation of therapeutics which can pass the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The collaboration agreement explicitly lists EPiC-enzymes as the means of choice to penetrate the BBB and to restore enzyme function in the central nervous system. LSDs are rare genetic diseases. Currently about 50 different forms are known. However, which LSD is covered by the deal has not been disclosed. If the approach turns out to be successful, the liaison might be expanded to include additional LSD targets. Angiochem would then be eligible to receive royalties on sales of EPiC- enzymes that arise from the collaboration. Jean-Paul Castaigne, president and CEO of Angiochem, emphasises the clinical goal: “Our collaboration with GSK reflects our belief in the need to effectively address neurological symptoms of lysosomal storage diseases." However, it is also anticipated that an effective EPiC-enzyme drugs will appeal to the peripheral symptoms of LSDs, too. Over a year ago, Angiochem teamed up with notorious Geron Corporation from Menlo Park (USA) in a similar deal to work on two oncology product categories (taxanes and telomerase inhibitors) crossing the BBB.