Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement by Santaris Pharma of the completion of a new DKK 152m (USD 30m) private investment round, comes news that the company has sealed a lucrative deal with the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
The two companies have entered a global strategic alliance for the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel medicines against viral diseases. This opens up an important new dimension for Santaris Pharma, which has hitherto focused on cancer and metabolic diseases. The deal gives GSK access to patented compounds based on Santaris Pharma’s Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) technology, for development as potential new therapies for selected viral diseases.
“The Locked Nucleic Acid technology platform developed by Santaris Pharma has the potential to transform Gene Interference therapies," said GSK senior vice president Dr Zhi Hong in a press release. "This alliance has the ability to accelerate our drug discovery programmes against multiple infectious disease targets”.
Under the agreement, Santaris Pharma will develop drug candidates in up to four anti-viral programmes to clinical proof of concept, after which GSK has an exclusive option to license the compounds for development and commercialisation worldwide. GSK also has an option to a compound being developed by Santaris Pharma as a potential new therapy for Hepatitis C infection.
Santaris Pharma will receive an upfront fee for the first antiviral programme of USD 3m and GSK will make an equity investment of USD 5m in Santaris Pharma, which could also receive up to USD 140m in milestone payments if candidate drugs from this first programme reach the market.
Taking the other three programmes into account, Santaris Pharma could be eligible to receive in excess of USD 700m in upfront fees and milestone payments. If a product is successfully commercialised, Santaris Pharma will receive high single to double-digit royalties on worldwide sales of alliance products.