Isis bags $1.53B rare disease development deal with GSK

Isis Pharmaceuticals bagged a potential blockbuster deal with GlaxoSmithKline, snagging a $35 million upfront and a potential payoff of up to $1.5 billion in exchange for deploying its antisense technology platform in the pursuit of a half dozen therapies to treat rare and serious ailments.

The deal structure includes up to $20 million in milestones for each of the six programs that make it to Phase II proof-of-concept. Glaxo then has the option to license each program, taking responsibility for further development costs. Any product that makes it to the marketplace would deliver double-digit royalties to Isis.

For Glaxo, the deal package highlights its newfound passion for rare disease targets, while Isis' CEO was happy to stay in the driver's seat all the way to PoC before turning the wheel over to the pharma giant's R&D organization.

"We are particularly excited to work on the novel targets GSK brought to the alliance," said Dr. Stanley T. Crooke, chairman and CEO of Isis Pharmaceuticals. "This alliance is exactly the type of deal we want to do.  We retain control of the discovery and early development of our drugs while working together with a very high-quality partner to maximize the value of the drugs in late-stage development and commercialization."

- check out the press release

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