GSK and Chroma Therapeutics form alliance to develop novel macrophage-targeted drugs
GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Chroma Therapeutics Limited, announced today a collaboration todevelop macrophage-targeted compounds using Chroma's proprietary esterase-sensitive motif (ESM)technology, which adds amino acid esters to compounds with the aim of targetting the compounds tospecific cells in the inflammatory disease process.
Under the terms of the collaboration with GSK's Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery(CEEDD), Chroma will undertake four discovery and development programmes to identify smallmolecule therapeutics, including its macrophage-targeted HDAC inhibitor programme for inflammatorydisorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Chroma will receive a significant up-front cash payment and, inaddition, GSK will invest in Chroma's Series D equity financing, announced separately by Chromatoday. Chroma is eligible to receive milestones, option fees and tiered royalties based on compounds arisingfrom the collaboration. Overall, Chroma has the potential to receive in excess of $1 billion in totalmilestone and option payments in the event that all four programmes are successful.
For each program, Chroma will have responsibility for research and development activities throughcompletion of clinical proof of concept studies. After the completion of such studies for eachprogramme, or earlier if it so chooses, GSK may elect to obtain an exclusive, worldwide license toproduct candidates within the program. At such time GSK will assume full responsibility fordevelopment and commercialisation. Chroma will retain full rights to further develop andcommercialise its product candidates in any programme GSK chooses not to license.
"This agreement marks GSK's continued efforts to access the best science and technology platformsworldwide" said Shelagh Wilson, Vice President and Head of the European CEEDD. "We believeChroma's ESM platform has tremendous potential, and look forward to working with Chroma toaccelerate the discovery and development of innovative new medicines for patients"
"We are delighted to collaborate with GSK to advance novel targeted therapies using our proprietaryESM technology" said Ian Nicholson, CEO of Chroma Therapeutics. "This collaboration providesstrong validation of our technology platform and will enable Chroma to progress a broad pipeline ofnovel agents against a range of serious diseases."
Chroma has developed its "Esterase Sensitive Motif" (ESM) technology which attaches specificchemical motifs onto active drugs to enhance the delivery of the drugs to specific targets within cells.The result is a drug-motif that is freely transported into the cell but, once the moiety is cleaved withinthe cell by intracellular esterases, it leaves an active charged species that cannot cross the cellmembrane easily. Over time, the drug-motif will accumulate within the cells, resulting in increasedpotency and duration of action. Page 2Chroma has developed a subset of these chemical motifs that are cleaved only within monocytes andmacrophages. This approach has potential in the treatment of inflammatory disorders, by helping todeliver a drug selectively to these cell types, which are implicated in a variety of serious diseasesincluding inflammatory disorders, cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes and other conditions.
About Chroma Therapeutics
Chroma Therapeutics, based in Oxford (UK), is a drug discovery and development company focusedin the fields of oncology and inflammatory disorders. Chroma is building a broad pipeline of first- orbest-in-class treatments utilising its expertise in chromatin biology and its novel intracellularaccumulation technologies, which include the ability to selectively target drugs to macrophages.Chroma is backed by a number of leading specialist investors, including Abingworth, EssexWoodlands, Gilde, Nomura Phase4 and The Wellcome Trust. More information about Chroma can befound at www.chromatherapeutics.com
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