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GSK, Oxford BioTherapeutics in $300 million oncology research deal
05-22-2009
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author
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LONDON—GlaxoSmithKline plc has partnered with oncology drug developer Oxford BioTherapeutics in an R&D deal worth up to $300 million, the companies announced May 18. The deal is meant to boost GSK's early-stage pipeline of cancer drugs and provide Oxford BioTherapeutics with the financial resources to advance its pipeline of fully human therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of primary, metastatic and recurring forms of cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will develop novel antibody therapies against selected Oxford BioTherapeutics targets. Oxford BioTherapeutics will develop one of its own monoclonal antibodies through to clinical proof-of-concept, at which point GSK will have an exclusive option to in-license the monoclonal antibody and assume responsibility for further clinical development and commercialization on a worldwide basis.

GSK paid Oxford BioTherapeutics an undisclosed upfront payment. The company is also eligible to receive up to $370 million in milestone payments, double-digit royalties on sales of any product that it develops to clinical proof-of-concept and single-digit royalties on worldwide sales of marketed GSK antibody products aimed at its targets. Oxford BioTherapeutics may also opt to carry forward any collaboration programs GSK chooses not to pursue.

Formed in 2004, Oxford BioTherapeutics is a privately held company based near Oxford. Oxford Biotherapeutics already has development deals with companies that engineer these antibodies, including Amgen, Medarex and Biosite. The GSK deal will now allow Oxford Biotherapeutics to develop its own antibody treatment for cancer and bring the antibody to clinical trials, at which point GSK will have the option to in-license the drug.

Oxford BioTherapeutics' focus is on developing innovative antibody-based cancer drugs, with integrated diagnostics, against novel targets that it has discovered in its Genome Anatomy Project (OGAP) database, which the company boasts as the world's largest proprietary collection of disease-associated proteins.

The OGAP database integrates genomic, proteomic and clinical information derived from blood and tissue studies for a large number of diseases from 50 different human tissues representing 60 diseases and contains more than 1 million peptide sequences, mapped to approximately 15,000 genes, combined with more than 8 million SNPs and haplotypes.

"We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with GSK given their proven commitment to innovation and their expertise in the development and commercialisation of novel oncology medicines," said Christian Rohlff, CEO of Oxford BioTherapeutics, in a statement released by the company. "This strategic alliance provides important validation of our scientific expertise in the fields of cancer target discovery and broadens OBT's antibody pipeline. In addition, we gain access to significant non-dilutive financing to support the development of our pipeline of fully human therapeutic antibodies which we believe have the potential to significantly impact clinically unmet needs in certain important cancer indications."

GSK did not comment on the deal by press time. The company's stock climbed 1 percent following the news.

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