GlaxoSmithKline, Isis enter $1.5-billion deal for RNA therapeutics

GlaxoSmithKline announced Wednesday that it entered into a collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals to develop RNA therapies, in a deal that could be worth around $1.5 billion for Isis. The companies will develop up to six programmes to treat infectious diseases and some conditions that cause blindness "in a way that has not previously been possible,” said Patrick Vallance, GlaxoSmithKline's head of drug discovery.

Under the agreed terms, the UK drugmaker will make an upfront payment of $35 million to Isis, who will also receive around $20 million in milestones per programme up to Phase 2. GlaxoSmithKline will have the option to licence drugs after Phase II development, the companies noted. Isis will be eligible to receive licence fees and further milestone payments, which could reach $1.5 billion, as well as royalties on sales of any approved products.

Isis' antisense platform develops specific treatments that bind to mRNA to halt the production of disease-causing proteins, the companies noted.

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