GlaxoSmithKline, Cellzome Joint Venture to Treat Inflammation

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Cellzome have announced an alliance to identify a new generation of drug candidates for inflammatory diseases, especially psoriasis. According to a Cellzome press announcement, the project is aimed to discover, develop and market novel kinase-targeted therapeutics to treat inflammatory diseases. The alliance gives GSK access to Cellzome’s significant expertise in identifying and developing selective kinase inhibitors and its proprietary Kinobeads technology that, by screening compounds in a physiological setting, is designed to improve the predictability of these drug candidates’ performance in clinical testing.

Kinases are key molecular switches in cellular signaling events with a central role in many inflammatory responses, reports Cellzome, and selective inhibitors offer a different approach to therapeutic intervention in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Under the terms of the agreement ,GSK has exclusive options to license drug candidates from Cellzome’s kinase programs directed against four identified targets and three additional targets, to be jointly identified by both parties. Within the alliance, Cellzome will utilize its Kinobeads technology to discover novel small molecule inhibitors of these targets, and then will develop the most promising product candidates through to completion of a clinical proof of concept trial, unless GSK elects to exercise its option earlier.

Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, PhD, senior vice president and head of the Immuno-Inflammation Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery of GSK, said in the press announcement: “GSK is committed to becoming a world leader in immuno-inflammation drug discovery by finding transformative medicines through internal efforts and external collaborations. We are excited to be working with Cellzome to discover and develop improved approaches to existing biologic therapies [that] cannot access intracellular signaling mechanisms. Cellzome’s Kinobeads technology will provide a distinct advantage because it uses native kinases directly isolated from human cells and tissues.”

This technology initially is targeted primarily to treat psoriasis; however, such an R&D collaboration could provide new insight into inflammatory response, which is of great interest to skin care formulators and product developers.

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