Epizyme lands $650M GSK deal

GlaxoSmithKline is paying $20 million up front and more than $630 million in milestone payments for a partnership deal with Cambridge, MA based Epizyme. The biotech, which was founded in 2007, is developing drugs that target gene-regulating enzymes responsible for triggering diseases. Specifically, Epizyme will help GSK discover small molecule drugs for enzymes called histone methyltransferases, which play a role in spurring cancer as well as inflammation, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative ailments and other conditions. Epigenetic enzymes regulate whether genes are turned off or on, the company explained in a statement. According to Xconomy, Epizyme's original focus was cancer, but the company has since expanded its research to other disease areas. The deal announcement did not specify what therapeutic areas the GSK deal would target.

Robert Gould, CEO and president of Epizyme, said: "Epizyme's mission is to develop personalized 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."

- here's the release from Epizyme