GSK and Yale Partner to Work on New Class of Drugs

GSK LogoUK drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered up with US Yale University under a collaboration that will concentrate on creating a possible new class of drugs.

Under the discovery agreement, GSK’s scientists will work alongside Yale researchers to build on Yale’s pioneering work with so-called proteolysis targeting chimeric molecules (PROTACs).

PROTAC technology assists the cellular destruction of disease-causing proteins by sending them to a cell’s “garbage disposal” for culling.

Mutant or unusually high levels of these proteins can be connected with disease progression in a number of areas, such as oncology and inflammation, but currently cannot be targetted by traditional ways of making medicines, GlaxoSmithKline notes.

The terms of the partnership provide GSK with the right to use PROTAC technology for multiple disease-causing proteins across all therapy areas.  In return, for each protein-degrading drug discovered and developed, Yale University will receive milestone and royalty payments.

The partners have already started research as part of their collaboration and GlaxoSmithKline said proof of principle data is anticipated to be accessible by the end of the year.

First US deal for GSK

GlaxoSmithKline has already created such risk-sharing type or arrangements with academic institutions in the UK, but this is the first one in the US, and it is also important due to its scope around a possible new class of medicines.

Kris Famm, head of GSK’s Protein Degredation effort, who will be leading the programme with Yale University’s Professor Craig Crews, commented that “this partnership is exploring a new way for promising, but unproven therapeutic approaches to jump from the academic lab more quickly into the early stage pharmaceutical pipeline.”

“The relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and academia is changing,” Yale University’s Professor Craig Crew noted, adding that the teamwork “offers a new paradigm for how pharma companies and academic researchers can benefit from working more closely together.”

Pharmaceutical productivity and research pipelines have diluted over the years, and gradually drug companies, including GSK and Pfizer, are looking towards academia to tap into leading research and discovery that might become the next generation of medicines.


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