March 24, 2009 / 7:38 AM / 10 years ago

Glaxo links with university on amyloidosis drug

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc said on Tuesday it had signed a deal with University College London to develop a new treatment for amyloidosis, a rare and often fatal disease that causes organ failure.

Glaxo will work with a team at the university led by Mark Pepys, who has been researching the disease for many years, to produce an unusual combination treatment for the condition, which is caused by the build-up of abnormal protein, or amyloid.

The drug development project involves using an antibody-based medicine with a conventional “small molecule” drug called CHPHC, which has shown promise in tests but is insufficient on its own.

By combining CPHPC with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid deposits, the dual approach has already successfully triggered a rapid clearance of amyloid deposits in mice.

The team now plan to develop the treatment further and then test it on humans.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pentraxin — a university spin-out company — will receive undisclosed milestones payments from Glaxo, depending on success in development, as well as royalties on any eventual sales. Further details were not disclosed.

The are around 500 new cases of amyloidosis diagnosed each year in Britain alone and the limited treatment available means the prognosis for patients is poor.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Hans Peters

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