April 22 GlaxoSmithKline said on Monday
it will partner with venture capitalists Avalon Ventures in a
deal worth up to $495 million to fund as many as 10
drug-discovery startup companies over the next three years.
GSK will provide financing and technical support to startups
established by Avalon Ventures and will have first rights on
buying each new company, GSK spokeswoman Melinda Stubbee said.
Avalon will contribute up to $30 million to the
collaboration, and Glaxo will provide as much as $465 million in
initial funding and development milestone payments, Stubbee
Big drugmakers see early-stage venture investing as a proxy
for expensive in-house drug development, and some have set up
their own venture funds.
Stubbee said each startup would have just a few employees,
focusing on a single compound to develop treatments for
conditions ranging from cancer to infectious diseases.