GSK links with Canadian firm on lysosomal diseases

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline has signed a collaboration deal with Angiochem to develop drugs for lysosomal storage diseases that could potentially earn the unlisted Canadian biotech company more than $300 million.

The early-stage research deal, announced by Angiochem on Monday, underscores GSK’s push into rare diseases - an area of medicine that has received increased focus following Sanofi’s $20.1 billion acquisition of Genzyme last year.

The aim is to develop novel treatments that can cross into the brain to relieve neurological symptoms associated with lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs). This is something current drugs made by the likes of Genzyme and Shire cannot do.

LSDs include a large group of rare inherited disorders, such as Tay Sachs disease, Fabry disease, Gaucher’s disease, Pompe disease, Hunter syndrome and other mucopolysaccharidosis.

Under the terms of the deal, Montreal-based Angiochem could receive more than $300 million, including up to $31.5 million in upfront cash, research funding and other fees if GSK accesses its available LSD targets. Angiochem would also get royalties on any eventual sales.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Holmes